How Long Should You Stand At A Standing Desk?

Don't overdo it.


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how long should you stand at a standing desk
Steven McConnell
2 min read

June 6, 2021

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Research by BeUpstanding, an Australian research initiative, clearly shows that Australian employees need to sit less and move more. According to their study, 75% of the workday is spent sitting. This, in turn, leads to a number of health risks.

For example, workers employed in sedentary roles for more than 10 years have double the risk of colon cancer.

But let’s skip the scary stuff and assume you’re a convert.

You’ve either shelled out your hard-earned money to buy one of the highest-rated standing desks in Australia or – even better – you convinced your boss to pay for one.

How long should you stand during your workday? Can you stand for too long? Follow 3 tips below to find out.

Tip 1: Start Slow.

If you are new to using a standing desk, it is important to ease into it. Start by standing for 20 minutes, then sitting down for 60 minutes.

Over the course of 1 month, increase the amount of time you spend standing to match your sitting interval.

This means by day 30, you should be standing for 1 hour, then sitting for 1 hour, then repeating.

Tip 2: Invest In An Anti-Fatigue Mat.

I used to get sore feet from standing at my desk for longer than 30 minutes. Reluctantly, I purchased a standing anti-fatigue mat from UpDown Desk – and it was a game-changer.

Shown in photo: an anti-fatigue mat is not the prettiest or the most interesting thing in the world, but it works.

The mat works encouraging you to make regular small foot movements, thus increasing blood circulation.

It enabled me to stand for at least 4-6 hours per day without discomfort. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Tip 3: Pay Attention To Your Posture.

Your spine should be straight, with your eyes roughly in line with the top of your monitor.

If you find yourself leaning forward and slouching, consider this as your body’s cue to take a break from standing. Grab your chair (hopefully an ergonomic office chair) and sit for 60 minutes.

Can You Stand At A Standing Desk For Too Long?

Probably. For example, this study found that mental alertness decreases after two hours of standing.

I personally don’t find this to be the case, but everyone is different.

There’s also no firm scientific evidence to suggest that you can experience other problems from standing at a standing desk, but common sense dictates that you should probably not stand for 8-10 hours every day.

– Steven

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