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how to stand at a standing desk

How to Stand at a Standing Desk: All the Steps You Need to Know

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As the nature of modern office work continues to take a toll on our health, standing desks have gained popularity as a potential solution. However, simply standing at a desk is not enough to reap the full benefits and avoid the drawbacks of this ergonomic tool. You must have the right desk, height, monitor and keyboard placement, footwear, and posture. In this article, let’s explore the essential guidelines on how to stand at a standing desk and more!

The Benefits of Using a Standing Desk

Using a standing desk offers many health benefits. This includes improved posture, increased calorie burn, reduced chronic diseases, and enhanced productivity.

With our team comprising ergonomics experts and office employees, we have gathered the benefits of a height-adjustable desk.

1. Improved Posture

Good standing desk posture means maintaining a neutral spine-aligned body while sitting or standing.

Prolonged sitting can strain back, neck, and shoulder muscles, leading to poor posture, pain, and potential health issues.

Fortunately, convertible desks help avoid bad posture by reducing sitting time. Unlike sitting, a standing position discourages slouching and hunching.

Individuals become less likely to experience strain and compression on the internal structure of the spine.

2. Increased Calorie Burn

Burning calories is vital for weight loss and overall health. You use more muscles when you stand than when you sit, which burns more calories.

A Harvard study said using a standing desk for three to four hours burns 24 calories.

Therefore, this increased muscular activity leads to a higher metabolic rate and calorie burn to prevent weight gain.

There’s more frequent movement when you stand, especially in the leg, core, and back muscles.

Movements like shifting weight, pacing, or taking a short walk further boost calorie burn.

3. Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases

A standing desk reduces chronic disease risk by engaging a person in physical activity, thus reducing sitting.

Chronic diseases can lead to decreased productivity and increased healthcare costs.

Having sedentary habits risks a person to increased chronic diseases. It could be a heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or worse, cancer.

Standing for at least part of the day helps to offset these risks.

4. Enhanced Productivity

Enhanced productivity at work means getting more done in less time.

Beyond its physical benefits, standing desks have also improved mental health and productivity.

Improved oxygen and blood flow to the brain may also enhance cognitive function and mental clarity. Thus, occasionally walking at work can increase alertness and focus.

Once you learn how standing desks alleviate back pain, you’ll feel less tired and stressed. You will eventually feel more engaged and attentive to their tasks.

How to Stand at a Standing Desk

Using a standing desk correctly is important to avoid any potential problems.

Search no further. This section wraps everything you need to know about how to stand at a standing desk.

1. Choosing the Right Standing Desk

Consider desk stability, adjustability, and weight capacity to ensure it meets your needs.

Your height is also an important consideration in finding the right standing desk.

But finding the best standing desk for short individuals is now easier. More standing desk manufacturers are now offering options with a height of 24 inches or less.

Some convertible desks have more advanced features, but choose those that’ll make it easier to switch positions.

Also, consider the available workspace and the need for storage or accessories.

2. The Correct Desk Height

Having the correct height for a standing desk is essential to maintain proper ergonomics and maximize comfort.

Here are quick steps in determining the ideal desk height for you:

  1. Stand straight, and measure floor-to-elbow for minimum desk height.
  2. Measure floor-to-top-of-monitor with each hand at the sides for maximum desk height.
  3. Adjust desk to 90-degree bent elbows and eye-level monitor.
  4. Ensure comfortable keyboard and mouse height.

You may need to adjust the height of your desk differently than someone of average height.

3. Ideal Screen and Keyboard Placement

Begin by positioning your monitor at eye level or in front of you. Ensure a distance no shorter than the length from your middle finger to your elbow — typically around 20 inches.

In resetting your standing desk properly, keep your keyboard at a 90° angle to keep a comfortable wrist position with armrests barely touching your elbows.

Avoid reaching too far or having your arms too close to your body. Use a keyboard tray or wrist rest to avoid developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

An ergonomic chair also helps you find a comfortable position and give good support.

4. Proper Footwear and Anti-Fatigue Mats

Choose shoes with proper arch support and cushioning. Additionally, consider using an anti-fatigue mat.

They provide a cushioned surface that helps with discomfort and fatigue.

Wearing comfortable shoes like sneakers and having a good standing desk mat is a good pair. Both can stabilize your feet no matter how long you stand at a standing desk.

5. Maintaining Proper Posture

Maintaining a good standing desk posture is important. A good posture reflects your overall well-being and confidence.

Here’s how you maintain proper posture:

  • Stand straight with relaxed shoulders, aligned ears, and evenly distributed weight.
  • Sit with a straight back, relaxed shoulders, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
  • Avoid slouching to prevent spine stress and joint or body pain.
  • Take regular breaks to keep skeletal muscles loose and prevent discomfort.
  • Strengthen core muscles to correct posture and prevent pain.
  • Stay mindful of your entire body posture.
  • Try exercises outside work, like yoga.

Tips for Transitioning to a Standing Desk

Introducing a standing desk into your work routine can bring numerous benefits. However, transitioning to this new setup requires some adjustments.

Nonetheless, here are helpful tips for successfully transitioning to a standing desk.

1. Begin Gradually

Only try to stand for part of the workday at a time.

Begin by standing for short periods only. Gradually increase your standing time as you become more comfortable.

Listen to your body. Stop standing and sit down if you feel back and shoulder pain or discomfort.

Avoid overexertion and unnecessary strain.

2. Alternate Between Sitting and Standing

Whether you are used to a prolonged standing routine, it is crucial to alternate between these positions.

When sitting, maintain a straight back, relaxed shoulders, and flat your feet on the floor or use a footrest if necessary.

Ensure that the ergonomic chair’s backrest provides proper lumbar support. A good standing desk posture maintains a neutral position with relaxed shoulders and an aligned spine.

Position your feet shoulder-width apart with one leg slightly bent. Also, avoid locking your knees and standing on one foot for prolonged periods.

3. Utilize Timers or Reminders

Timers or reminders can help you manage your sitting and stand time effectively.

Use timers to remind yourself to switch positions at specific intervals, such as 20-30 minutes.

It will prevent you from remaining in one position for too long and encourage movement.

There are various tools to set reminders, such as an app, computer software, or even simple alarm clocks. You can also put a sticky note on your computer.

4. Incorporate Movement and Stretching

In addition to standing up, it’s also important to incorporate movement and stretching exercises.

You can do light standing exercises — such as leg lifts, calf raises, or wall sits.

Shift your weight from one foot to another, particularly when standing for extended periods. Give your neck, shoulders, back, hips, and leg muscles some stretch.

Standing Desk Ergonomics

Standing desk ergonomics includes using ergonomic accessories and maintaining a neutral posture. Optimizing the distances between the keyboard and the screen is also important.

Here’s how you can further establish good standing desk ergonomics.

1. Ergonomic Accessories

Ergonomic accessories help improve posture and prevent pain using a sit-stand desk.

Some of these accessories for standing desks include:

  • Standing desk risers – convert regular desks into ergonomic standing desks.
  • Keyboard trays – maintain a comfortable keyboard placement.
  • Monitor arms or a laptop stand – monitors should be tilted upwards to reduce neck pain.
  • Anti-fatigue mats – alleviate fatigue and pain in the feet and legs.

2. Maintaining a Neutral Posture

This means keeping your back and neck straight, shoulders relaxed, and wrists straight. You should also avoid leaning forward or twisting your upper body when in a seated position.

Kneeling also maintains spine alignment naturally. Try different kneeling positions, like placing one leg forward and utilizing a desk balance board for stability.

Consider using a posture corrector, lumbar seat cushion, or a kneeling chair.

If maintaining a natural position remains challenging or painful, a physical therapist helps.

3. Optimal Distances from Screen and Keyboard

The optimal distance from your computer desk and keyboard will vary depending on your height and the monitor’s size.

Keep your computer screen at eye level and your keyboard at a comfortable height.

If you feel a strain on your neck or shoulders to see your screen surface or type, try adjusting the necessary office equipment or accessories.

Avoiding Common Mistakes and Misconceptions

Despite the popularity of a sit-stand desk, there are common things that people need to correct when they use a standing desk.

Here are three common mistakes and misconceptions to avoid when using a standing desk.

1. Overestimating Standing Time

The time you spend standing without breaks can lead to fatigue, discomfort, and health issues.

It can also increase your risk of varicose.

It’s critical to balance sitting and standing throughout the day. This is to avoid overloading your body and maintain overall comfort and productivity.

2. Ignoring Discomfort or Pain

Ignoring discomfort or pain when using a standing desk indicates poor ergonomics or bad posture.

Disregarding these signs can lead to chronic pain or some musculoskeletal problems.

Pain is a sign of injury, leads to bad habits, and reduces productivity.

3. Inadequate Support or Equipment

Inadequate support or equipment can compromise your comfort, posture, and well-being.

Bad support, like uncomfortable chairs or those needing ergonomic accessories, leads to health issues.

Using inadequate equipment or not having a height-adjustable standing desk reduces productivity. It also increases injury risk.

It is crucial to invest in quality ergonomic equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Standing desks have become popular in recent years. This is because most people aim to stay healthy while being productive at work.

With this, many people have questions and seek more information on how to use a standing desk.

How Long Should I Stand at My Standing Desk?

Stand at your desk for 20-30 minutes and gradually increase the duration — depending on your comfort.

Some may find they are more productive when standing most of the day. Others may prefer to alternate between sitting and upright posture.

Incorporating regular sitting and movement breaks helps maintain a balanced approach.

Should I Stand All Day at My Standing Desk?

No, it would be best not to stand all day at your standing desk. Prolonged standing can be as harmful as prolonged sitting.

Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day for optimal use of a standing desk.

Find balance by incorporating regular breaks and movement when you’ve been in a standing position for long periods.

Is a Standing Desk a Good Idea for Everyone?

A standing desk is only a good idea for some. Some people should not use a standing desk, including:

  • People with certain medical conditions.
  • People are unaccustomed to prolonged standing.
  • People who have pain when they stand.

How Do I Know if My Standing Desk Setup Is Ergonomic?

To ensure an ergonomic standing desk setup, check the height of your desk, position your monitor at eye level, and maintain good posture.

You must also adjust the keyboard and mouse placement.

Remember, an ergonomic setup involves arranging your workstation for comfort, health, and productivity.

Can I Still Experience Discomfort From Using a Standing Desk, Even if I Set It Up Correctly?

Yes, you can still experience discomfort from using a sit-stand desk, even if you set it up correctly.

It may also be either of the following:

  • Inexperienced with prolonged standing
  • Medical condition
  • Lack of breaks
  • Improper desk height
  • Unsupportive chair
  • Uncomfortable shoes


You can optimize your comfort and energy levels by following proper ergonomics and knowing how to stand at a standing desk.

Plus, with a well-designed setup and mindful approach, you can enjoy the benefits of a sit-stand desk.

You can also promote overall well-being in workspaces.