Standing at Work: Finding the balance

Standing at Work: Finding the balance

Some jobs, such as production line worker and a bank teller, require standing all day. This can put stress on joints and muscles, back pain, and various other health problems. However, the rising concern with the problems caused by sedentary behavior led to a surge of standing office desks. Sitting for a prolonged period of time has been called the “new smoking” (apparently sitting for 4 or 5 hours is the equivalent of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes). But what about standing? Is it really so bad and can we make it better? Here are five things that could answer those questions.


The Health Problems that Come with Standing

Standing for five to eight hours can’t pass without consequences. People who operate on standing jobs experience overworked muscles and joints, backaches (lower back are especially affected), foot pain, and long-term musculoskeletal issues. These implications must be taken seriously, especially when we know that low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Muscles and joints are not all that’s affected by prolonged standing. According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), prolonged standing on a regular basis can also cause stiffness in the neck and shoulders, swollen legs, sore feet and varicose veins.

If You Choose to Stand, Choose the Right Standing Desk


We’ve already mentioned that many people choose standing desks to avoid the negative effects of sitting, but not all standing desks are made equal. A desk that doesn’t promote correct posture is just as bad, or worse than sitting for 8 hours. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a standing desk:

  • The table height should be at your elbow height (or slightly below),
  • The computer screen must be at eye level,
  • The monitor should be 20 to 28 inches away from your eyes,
  • The screen should be set at a 20-degree tilt.

Rethink Your Footwear Choice

Standing for more hours causes a lot of stress on your feet. Therefore, it’s essential to choose proper footwear. Avoid high heels and shoes that do not fit properly. Search for footwear that provides enough support and stability, while still being comfortable enough to make it through the entire day. Consider looking for shock-absorbing insoles, especially if your job requires standing on hard surface.


What You’re Standing on Counts Too

Standing on resilient unyielding floors can cause significant discomfort and be especially hard on the feet. While shock-absorbing insoles in the footwear can be of a lot of help here, they do not completely solve your problem. Polyurethane foam anti fatigue mats, on the other hand, can provide with cushioning that reduces foot fatigue. Furthermore, they improve posture, reduce pressure and insulate your feet from cold floors.

Don’t Just Stand There


Standing desks have proven to be beneficial because people tend to move more while using them, whether by shifting weight from one leg to another or taking more strolls. Standing in the same position for hours isn’t much better than sitting for hours. Be sure to break the prolonged standing periods with stretching sessions, and try to change positions as frequently as possible. If you can, take a couple of sitting breaks during the day. Stretch out your muscles and limbs every hour or so, to boost your blood circulation and prevent stiffness and muscle fatigue.

Sitting may be the new smoking, but standing is another kind of “poison”, especially if not approached properly. If you address all the problems that come with prolonged standing in the right way, you may get the most out of this, often uncomfortable and difficult, position, and safeguard your health, while remaining productive at work.

Author Bio

Emma Lawson is a passionate writer, online article editor, and a health enthusiast. In her spare time, she likes to do research, and write articles to create awareness regarding a healthy lifestyle. She is a regular contributor to .

Twitter @EmmahLawson


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