According to research, 80% of Americans will suffer from back problems at some point in their lives. While you might expect genetics and activity levels to play a role, there's another culprit to consider: your posture.
More than just an aesthetic concern, slouching and slumping can lead to long-term issues that affect your overall health. From heavy smartphone use to sedentary lifestyles, there are many different factors that can lead to misalignment in your neck and back.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to gently correct your posture is to invest in an adjustable standing desk. If you're used to spending a substantial amount of time each day in front of a computer, this could help you avoid putting too much strain on your upper body.
Today, we're sharing how standing desks work and why they're so effective at posture correction.
What Is an Adjustable Standing Desk?
An adjustable standing desk is one that can be used in both sitting and standing positions. It's an ideal solution for office workers who spend hours each day behind the computer. Raising your desk for a small portion of time each day can help you avoid the physical and mental stress that often accompanies long stretches of sitting.
While a fully standing desk is a great solution for any workplace, adjustable models offer you the best of both worlds. When you need a little energy and productivity boost, you can simply press a button and the electric mechanism will raise the desk so you can stand behind it. This allows you to move slightly as you work, amplifying your focus and moving you out of a mental funk.
On the other hand, there may also be times when you want to relax against your chair, settling in for a serious brainstorming session. When that's the case, you just press the button again, and the desk returns to a seated position.
The best standing desks are those that conform smoothly and seamlessly, without the need for much manual manipulation. Our RISE UP Electric Adjustable Height Standing Desk is a great place to start! Available in three different colors (black, gray, and white), you can also specify the frame height range as well as the size, color, and material of the desktop.
Solving the Posture Problem
Before we dive into the different ways standing desks can help improve your posture, let's begin by exploring why your posture might be compromised in the first place.
Poor posture typically stems from lifestyle habits, such as:
- Working for long stretches in front of a computer
- Looking down at a smartphone
- Slouching on the couch while watching TV or playing video games
- Staying sedentary for too long
All of the actions above require the muscles in your shoulders, neck, and back to work overtime. As you lean forward, they struggle to keep your head upright and balanced. This can cause them to become tense and tired, which leads to poor posture.
Signs of Poor Posture
Most of the time, we aren't looking in the mirror as we work. When we can't see ourselves, it can be hard to tell that we're slouching. Yet, there are some telltale signs that your posture needs improving. These include:
- Back pain
- Joint degeneration
- Rounded shoulders
- Bent knees when walking or standing
- Muscle fatigue
In addition to these physical signs, poor posture can also lead to inner-body issues, including respiratory challenges, constipation, and digestive problems.
Elements of Good Posture
Most of us can recognize and appreciate good posture when we see it. We'll notice when someone appears to be holding their head high, their shoulders back, and their spine straight. However, it's an entirely different thing to put those same motions into practice during the workday.
Whether you're sitting or standing, good posture matters. Some of the characteristics to strive for include:
- Aligning your ears over your shoulders
- Keeping your hips aligned with your shoulders
- Pulling your shoulders back
- Resting your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart (sitting or standing)
- Resting most of your weight on the balls of your feet when standing
- Resting most of your weight on your sit bones when sitting
Ways to Improve Your Posture
If your posture is preventing you from living a comfortable, healthy lifestyle, then it's time to make some changes. The steps you take now could improve your long-term health and allow you to participate in the activities you enjoy, pain-free.
If you suspect you have poor posture, you may need to see a physical therapist. This medical expert can create a customized plan of exercises, movements, and stretches to gradually rebuild your flexibility, as well as your core muscle strength. Your core includes the muscles in your abdomen, back, and pelvic floor, all of which work to cradle and support your spine.
In addition to seeking professional help, you can also incorporate small changes into your daily routine. For instance, instead of working eight hours in front of the computer without looking up, take a small five-minute break every hour or two. Use this time to stretch your legs, walk a little, and give your eyes a break.
The goal of all of this is to achieve a neutral, upright spinal position. This means that your spine is in solid alignment and isn't flexing too far forward or backward.
While these activities might require slight changes to your daily routine, the payout is worth it. Some of the benefits of good posture include:
- Fewer headaches
- Less muscle pain
- Increased energy
- Improved joint health
- Improved digestion
- Greater confidence
The Issue With Seated Desks
For centuries, seated desks have served us well. They're the most traditional type of office furniture around, found everywhere from mom-and-pop startups to Fortune 500 businesses. However, while they may be incredibly common, they aren't exactly great for our posture or spine health.
While you might think that seating will put your body into a natural, straight alignment, this isn't the case. When you sit down for too long, you'll start to feel the strain in your neck and back muscles. Your shoulders may also naturally round over your desk, especially if you're leaning to see a computer or phone screen.
As you rest your elbows on the desk, your body tends to gravitate toward what you're working on. This increases the stress on your legs, back, neck, and arms. It also puts undue pressure on your spinal disks and overstretches your spinal ligaments.
While there's nothing wrong with sitting at a desk for a short amount of time, it's all too easy to get into a trance, allowing your eyes to concentrate on the screen in front of you. Before you know it, an entire workday has passed. You might not feel the effects when you're in the zone, but when you get up to go home (or into the living room), you'll notice that your upper and lower back is tight, your eyes are dry, and your head is pounding.
How Can an Adjustable Standing Desk Help?
Another way to improve your posture while you work is to use an adjustable standing desk! As more people make the shift to working from home either full-time or part-time, this can be a great addition to any home office. Many employers are also embracing the idea of transitioning to standing desks for their team members, realizing the benefits that they can provide.
On their own, adjustable stand up desks won't magically improve your posture overnight. However, they can get you in the habit of standing up straighter for longer stretches of time. This prevents you from spending too much time in a seated, slumped position and naturally trains your body to hold that pose, even after the workday is done.
Here are a few of the many ways an adjustable standing desk can help enhance your posture over time.
Encourages Movement Throughout the Day
Many of us are guilty of sitting for too long at our desks. We simply don't think about going anywhere or changing our setup because we need to be in our office, and our chair is the only place to sit.
When you have an adjustable standing desk, you aren't limited to just one position. You can press a button and the desk quickly and automatically rises in height. This makes it easy to alternate between sitting down and standing up, motivating you to move frequently throughout the day.
This action alone relieves pressure from your spine, which can accumulate when you sit for too long. You'll find that your muscles are far less fatigued at the end of the day, and your joints aren't as stiff.
Allows Occasional Sitting
While we've made major strides since the caveman era, humans still don't have an excellent tolerance for standing. If you spend eight hours on your feet, you'll feel just as exhausted as you do when you sit all day.
That's because our spines naturally have a slightly curved "S" shape to them, which prevents us from maintaining a fully erect posture all day. We do require short bouts of sitting to help alleviate strain on our feet and enhance our comfort.
This is why an adjustable desk is ideal! You don't have to commit to standing at your computer all day. You know that as soon as your feet start to feel tired and you need a break, you can press the button, bring the deal down, and sit for a period of time.
Helps You Practice Good Posture
As you use your standing desk, you have a great opportunity to practice good posture. To get into the proper position, start by making sure your knees are slightly bent, not locked into place. This alleviates pressure from your lower back and keeps your circulation flowing properly.
While you work, you might find that you thoughtlessly shift your weight from one leg to the other. This is a good thing! It's our body's natural way of balancing itself, which can help improve alignment.
Note that if your feet, legs, and knees begin to feel stressed after a short while, you may also need a cushioned, anti-fatigue floor mat to keep the strain off your lower-body joints.
Features Ergonomic Design
While adjustable standing desks can be a great addition to any workplace, they aren't all created equal. To reap the most benefit from yours, look for ones that feature an ergonomic design. This means it's designed to work with your body and keep you as comfortable and supported as possible.
Our RISE UP desk is built with ergonomics in mind. This includes other models, such as our Rise Up Essential. When using a desk like this, it's important to find the right height adjustment.
As you fine-tune your standing position, think about the basics of ergonomic function. You'll know you're in the right position when the following statements are true:
- Your computer screen is centered just below eye level
- Your computer screen is about 20 inches from your face, tilted at around 20 degrees
- Your wrists are in a natural position above the keyboard
- Your feet are flat on the floor
- Your arms are held at a 90-degree angle
If you can't achieve this positioning with a standing desk alone, you may need to purchase a desk conversion kit, such as our CHANGEdesk Adjustable Height Standing Desk Conversion. This product brings your computer and keyboard to the perfect ergonomic height, without any monitor risers required!
Find an Adjustable Standing Desk for Your Office
If you're tired of being tired at the end of the workday, your posture could be to blame. While you work away at the keyboard, your neck and back muscles are straining to keep pace. This can leave you feeling fatigued, not to mention hunched over.
An adjustable standing desk is a great way to slowly start correcting the posture issues that can build up over a lifetime of slouching. At Uncaged Ergonomics, we have lots of standing desks and accessories for you to browse. Shop our full collection online today!