How Long Can You Stand At A Standing Desk?

Standing desks have become one of the biggest trends in ergonomics, rivaling even the ergonomic office chairs and anti-carpal tunnel keyboards. With a standing desk, you can alternate between standing and sitting down, allowing you to maintain better posture and prevent tension from accumulating in your body.

Aside from great posture and less tension, standing desks are good for you in many other ways. Using a standing desk while working also helps you burn more calories. More than that, it can keep your circulation going, boost your productivity, and give you more energy throughout the workday - all in all, making work a lot more comfortable.

However, standing too long can be just as harmful as sitting all day. With that in mind, how long can you stand at a standing desk? And at what point does it defeat the purpose?

Keep on reading to find out how long should you stand at a standing desk, along with what you can do to get the most out of yours.

Why Does It Matter How Long You Stand At A Standing Desk?

A standing desk is also known as a "sit-stand" desk because you can adjust its height. This means that when you get tired, you can easily lower the height of your desk and sit down on your chair again. And when start to feel fidgety in your chair, you can re-raise your desk and resume your work while standing. Easy, right? Learn more about how a standing desk works in our previous blog post if you haven't used one yet. For now, though, let's explain why standing all day is just as bad as sitting all day.

First of all, neither sitting nor standing too long is good for you. In fact, the negative effects of standing for prolonged periods of time can be the same as sitting all day. Over time, your body becomes fatigued from staying on your feet, leading to pain and tightness in your muscles.

In worse cases, prolonged standing can also lead to inflammation in the veins. With enough time, this inflammation may lead to painful varicose veins. Some people may also experience immobilization or "locking" of the joints in the spine, hips, knees, and feet, which can progress into rheumatic diseases because of the damage to the tendons and ligaments.

Considering these health risks, it's crucial that you avoid standing for too long, be it at a standing desk or otherwise. You also must learn how high a standing desk should be when getting set up. 

So, How Long Can You Stand At A Standing Desk?

But now comes the question: how long can you stand at a standing desk?

The general recommendation is 30 to 60 minutes at a time. This amount of standing time can help you gain the full benefits of using a standing desk without over-fatiguing your muscles. Here's an easy rule to follow: for every 1 to 2 hours you sit, spend around 1 hour standing. A standard 1:2 ratio.

However, spending an hour or even 30 minutes standing may not be easy. This is especially true if you're used to sitting for your entire workday. In this case, alternate between sitting and standing every 30 minutes or so. Alternatively, follow the 3:1 ratio. If that is still too much, start with 15 minutes and work your way up gradually from there.

Over time, your body will gain enough strength to allow you to stand for long periods without getting tired easily.

Additional Tips To Help You Stand Longer At Your Standing Desk

Now you know how long you should stand at a standing desk. But what else can you do to make this easier and more enjoyable? We've compiled a few tips that can help make your experience with standing desks even better:

Stand correctly

You probably don't need to be taught how to stand. But if you have poor posture, maintaining the correct standing position may be a challenge.

To maximize the health benefits of your standing desk, you need to have proper posture. First, keep your feet flat on the floor shoulder-width apart. Stand straight with your shoulders back. Keep your head in line with your body. Then, distribute your weight evenly on both legs.

Do not slouch, lean forward, or rock back and forth. Resist the urge to cock your hips to one side as well. These habits can defeat the entire purpose of standing desks.

If you want to learn more about the best way to stand at a standing desk, be sure to check out our previous article on the topic.

Adjust your screen and accessories

Standing desks will only be beneficial if they help you avoid slouching or leaning towards your computer screen. Therefore, you have to make sure that your screen is at eye level to help you avoid leaning forwards.

At the same time, your keyboard and mouse must be close to your body. This way, you are not forced to stretch or bend your wrists unnaturally, which can cause pain in your wrists, shoulders, and arms.

Invest in an anti-fatigue mat

An anti-fatigue mat encourages small movements in your leg muscles, which helps improve blood flow and prevent standing fatigue. Moreover, it also provides insulation against cold floors, protecting your feet against discomfort. It also protects your floor from footprints from you standing in one spot. If you struggle to stand a full 30-60 minutes, investing in an anti-fatigue mat is a great choice.

Attach arm supports to your desk

With a standing desk, you won't have the kind of arm support that a regular office chair provides. While this may not be a problem, you may find it easier to maintain good posture when you have something to rest your arms on.

Most standing desks do not come with built-in arm supports. Thus, you would have to buy your own. Using arm supports keeps tension off your wrists, shoulders, and neck, which is especially important if you have to type for hours at work.

Use a timer

Set a timer to remind yourself when you have to sit down or stand up again. Remember that both sitting and standing for too long can lead to a number of negative health effects, so it's best to be mindful of how long you are sitting or standing. And, if you are watching the clock for your 30-60 minute window to expire - you won't be focused.

Pro Tip: To avoid disturbing other people in the office or jarring yourself out of concentration, use a silent, vibrating timer instead of a blaring alarm.

Walk or stretch between transitions

After your timer goes off, stretch your muscles or walk around for 5 minutes. Doing so can help clear your mind, correct your posture, and give you a much-needed break between work hours.

Don't lean on your standing desk

For most people, there is always an unconscious tendency to lean on the desk in front of them. It's important that you avoid doing this at a standing desk--or any desk, for that matter. Why? Because whatever benefit you will get from a standing desk will reduce to almost nothing.

If you catch yourself leaning on your desk, don't worry about it. Sometimes, we forget to maintain an upright position because we're so focused on the work in front of us. When you do realize you're leaning, however, see to it that you correct your posture as soon as possible. You'll minimize that tendency with enough time.

Use an ergonomic chair

Standing desks are best used in tandem with ergonomic chairs. When you take a break from standing, sitting on an ergonomic chair will help you resume a correct posture. This is mainly due to the lumbar back support that ergonomic chairs have, which supports the natural curve of your lumbar spine (on your lower back).

Pick the right pair of shoes

Wearing uncomfortable shoes will take away all the comfort and potential benefits that a standing desk can have. To avoid this, pick a pair that will keep your feet comfortable throughout the day (and follows the office attire rules). If you don't want to wear them during your commute, keep your shoes underneath your desk so that you can easily change into them before clocking in.

Clean up your workspace

You're probably thinking, "what does a clean workspace have to do with a standing desk?" For starters, adjusting your standing desk will probably lead to things falling over if your desk is too cluttered. More than that, leaving your cables all tangled up will likely overstretch them when you raise the height of your desk. And the last thing you want is your cables getting damaged or worse--ripping a port off your computer.

Final Thoughts On How Long You Can Stand At A Standing Desk

The golden rule for standing time at a standing desk is to follow a 1:2 ratio. For every 1 to 2 hours of sitting, stand for at least 1 hour. However, it's also important to listen to what your body tells you. If your legs start to ache while standing, it's probably time to sit back down. Vice versa; if your pain is blooming in your lower back, it's likely a sign to stand back up again.

That concludes our guide on how long to stand at a standing desk! If you're ready to make the switch from your boring old office desk, look no further than EverDesk+. You won't find a better adjustable standing desk in Singapore.

Our adjustable work desks are just what you need to make work a whole lot more comfortable. Made from only the finest materials and designed for the average 9-5er, these standing desks are guaranteed to keep you comfortable, healthy, and productive all day. And with a whopping 10-year warranty, you can have the peace of mind that you need.

Stop gritting your teeth through work-related pains and aches, make the best choice for your health with an EverDesk+ standing desk today!