Sitting for long periods of time damages our bodies, especially our backs. Time-wise, it is not always possible to integrate sufficient exercise and sport into everyday working life. However, the back can also be protected when working at a desk by using a standing desk instead of a simple desk. A back-friendly alternation between sitting and standing is made possible with standing desks in everyday office life.
Consequences of sitting
Sitting for hours on end leads to numerous musculoskeletal complaints over time. The trunk musculature shortens. Damage occurs to the intervertebral discs and the risk of thrombosis increases. In addition, bad posture of the back is promoted by the one-sided load when sitting. By alternating sitting and standing with a standing desk, these complaints can be prevented and reduced quite easily in everyday working life. At the push of a button, an ordinary desk is transformed into a standing desk within seconds. The settings can be adjusted individually.
Advantages of working while standing
A Texas A&M Health Service Center study evaluated the effects of a standing desk on their employees for six months. Productivity increased by 46 percent per hour when switching between sitting and standing. In addition, employees with a standing desk sat in their chairs 90 minutes less, “Boosting productivity at work may be simple: stand up (tamhsc.edu).”
Regularly alternating between standing and sitting stimulates circulation. This leads to an improvement in blood circulation and activates the metabolism. This increases performance and effectiveness compared to working while constantly sitting. At the same time, the muscles of the spine are strengthened.
Correct position when working while standing
To protect the back, a few rules for the correct posture should also be observed at the standing desk.
First, the height of the standing desk must be individually adjusted to your own height. It must be possible to reach the keyboard with one’s own hands without any problems. The correct height of the standing desk is set when the shoulders are completely relaxed and the forearms can rest completely or at least partially on the table surface.
A relaxed and healthy standing position is achieved by a hip-width stance and slightly bent knees. In addition, a slight tensing of the buttocks and abdominal muscles prevents a hollow back and maintains a position that is easy on the back.
Further preventive measures against back pain at the workplace
Next to the standing desk, an ergonomic office chair is the most important piece of office furniture for preventing incorrect strain and posture of the spine. It adapts to the movements of the body and supports the spine. The backrest must be adjustable, and it must dynamically support the movements of the back.
Furthermore, the correct posture while sitting is crucial. A slightly forward-tilted pelvis and shoulders rolled back relieve strain on the back muscles. The thighs lie horizontally on the seat surface and the lower legs are at a 90-degree angle to the thighs on the floor.
A lumbar cushion promotes the natural S-curvature of the spine and thus supports healthy sitting.
Exercise is the best preventive measure
In addition to all preventive measures, exercise is the best protection against back pain. This does not have to be necessarily with the sport, but a dynamic work prevents many complaints.
Ergotopia advises alternating between sitting, standing and walking. After 40 minutes sitting one stands for 15 minutes and in the remaining 5 minutes one walks purposefully. Telephone calls are replaced by walking to colleagues or print jobs are picked up individually.