More movement in the workplace with a height-adjustable desk

published by Valentin Goetz in Work September 18, 2020
Valentin Goetz

Why you should incorporate more movement into your working day

The human body is designed for movement: walking and running were the main activities of our predecessors. Nowadays, however, our daily office lives are characterised by long periods spent sitting down. The sole solution: We need to be active and move as often as possible to remain fit in the long term. Alternating between periods of sitting and standing, ideally at a height-adjustable desk, active exercise breaks and regular variations in sitting or standing position are proven to help improve your physical and mental health and wellbeing. Physical activity spread throughout the day - which can be easily incorporated into the working day - can reduce stress levels and improve the cardiovascular system. This in turn improves your cognitive abilities. More calories are also burned through movement. This was ascertained in a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. If 6 hours of sitting a day are replaced by standing, it can be assumed that a person weighing 65 kg will burn an additional 54 kcal/day. Assuming that calorie intake is not increased, this would result in a loss of 2.5 kg body fat mass.

Your daily routine also impacts your leisure time: an active working day means that we don’t go to bed feeling completely defeated, drained and stressed; instead, we are motivated to do other things such as a workout or meeting up with friends and family. Only an evening workout or cycling to the office can compensate for 10 hours of poor posture a day.

Want to incorporate more movement into your working day and find out how you can use your height-adjustable desk with the right balance of time spent sitting and standing? Let’s go!

01

Sitting or standing at work - which is better?

Changing from a sitting to a standing workplace brings about a positive change: Active routines at work result in less tension in the neck and shoulder musculature and helps to relieve the cardiovascular system. Standing while working also strengthens your back and leg muscles. Standing stimulates your cardio system and improves your ability to concentrate through more active movement.

However, just like with sitting, emphasis should also be placed on good posture while standing. During long periods spent standing, we tend to lean our weight to one side. This one-sided stress can negatively affect our musculoskeletal system in the long term as it adapts to this poor posture. As with permanent sitting, long periods of standing can also bring negative consequences: too much time spent standing can lead to muscular and skeletal pain, heart disease, pain in lower back or atherosclerosis.

It is extremely important to have an ergonomically correct setup for working while standing. This includes aspects such as ensuring the right standing workstation height along with the distance and orientation of the monitor.

In short, neither permanent standing nor sitting at a desk is good for our health. A balance between time spent standing and sitting is far more important.

02

How long and how often you should sit, stand and move

Try to find a good balance between time spent sitting, standing and moving. The main thing is that you should regularly waken your locomotor system and stimulate your cardiovascular system by climbing a few stairs, briskly walking to the office kitchen or doing specific exercises while standing.

Experts recommend standing for at least 30% to 60% of your working day. In turn, 5-10% of work time should be filled with active movement.

An eight-hour working day might look as follows:

  • 4 hours’ sitting (50% sitting)
  • 3 hours 15 minutes spent standing (40% standing)
  • Actively move for around 45 minutes (10% moving)

Separate these daily targets into smaller sessions so that you are regularly alternating between standing and sitting. It is recommended to spend no longer than 1.5 hours standing and 30 minutes sitting in one go to prevent pain and discomfort to the locomotor system. The main thing, however, is to incorporate as much movement as possible into your working day. Dynamic sitting is particularly recommended here.

03

The step-by-step guide from a sitting to standing workstation

It’s best to start with fixed intervals and slowly increase your time spent standing at your height-adjustable desk to help your body adjust. You should ideally vary your posture 2-3 times per hour. The main thing is to avoid standing still on the spot and integrate as much active movement as possible in between intervals. How it works:

Week 1: Alternate between 10 mins standing and 20 mins sitting

Week 2: Alternate between 15 mins standing and 20 mins sitting

Week 3: Alternate between 20 mins standing and 20 mins sitting

Week 4: Alternate between 30 mins standing and 20 mins sitting

Week 5: Alternate between 40 mins standing and 20 mins sitting

04

Active standing at a height-adjustable desk

A mat for your standing workstation can make it even easier to work while standing. It helps you to intuitively keep moving in front of your PC and avoid rigidly standing on hard ground. This strengthens your muscles and relieves your joints. You can also reduce signs of fatigue in your legs.

Pressure-relieving standing mat for working at a height-adjustable desk
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Exercise inspiration for more movement at the workplace

Every movement counts in the office! In our exercise routines, we show you how to playfully increase activity at your desk. Get started right away and try it out. >

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