How Much Standing Do You Really Need in a Day?
The risks associated with prolonged sitting have been known for years, even decades, but few people are taking these risks seriously and creating some significant change in their lifestyle. Many would argue the type of work they do leave them little choice when it comes to the physical activities they can do throughout their day. Computer work almost always glues people to their desks, but the truth is that you can remain glued to your work without having to sit all the time.
Stand. Stand while you work. That’s what standing desks are for. That’s what standing meetings are designed to achieve, among others. But how much standing do you really need to do in a day in order to be healthy?
Let’s stand at work, but how much and how often?
Movement—this is what you want to achieve by shifting from sitting, to standing, and back while working. You want to keep the muscles active. So when you stand, it’s not only a matter of the length of time but also a matter of frequency.
When you are just starting in this more active lifestyle at work, do not force yourself to stand more than you can handle. Take little steps at a time.
Professor of Ergonomics Alan Hedge recommends this: 20 minutes of sitting + 8 minutes of standing + 2 minutes of moving around, alternately done throughout the day as you work. This is an ideal schedule to begin with, something easy to follow. You can use a timer on your phone as a reminder.
As an additional guide, the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that in a regular workday, you should be able to accumulate a total of 2 hours of standing time. If we’re to follow Hedge’s recommendation, that should be easy in an 8-9 hours schedule of work.
At the start of this lifestyle shift, you might encounter some challenges in standing for a longer amount of time, and we have some tips in a previous blog post: Standing for Long Periods of Time? Here’s How to Do It Properly!
Small Activities to Increase Your Standing Time
Apart from a timed schedule for sitting and standing as you work, there are a few other small activities that you can do at work to stand more. Check out the following:
- Hold standing meetings
- When talking on the phone, stand
- Take the stairs to the next floor
- If you need something from a colleague, go to that colleague instead of calling him
The key to make the shift from sitting all day to adding more standing time to your work schedule is to do it slowly but steadily and consistently. And, make the shift so natural you won’t even notice it soon. Arrange your working environment so that it supports you and makes things easy. Soon, standing would be second nature and you’ll be living a happier, healthier work life.
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