Transitioning to a Sit-Stand Lifestyle: Here’s How to Do It Right
The practice of alternating between sitting and standing while working—this appears to be the most promising solution to the risks and challenges of the growing sedentary lifestyle that has become one of the seemingly unavoidable trade-offs of modern technology. The sit-stand lifestyle started as a small trend among health-conscious individuals, but it looks like it’s here to stay.
If you’re looking to transition to this lifestyle and are wondering how best to start and how you can keep going once you have started, there are some things you can do to ease yourself into this new, healthier lifestyle.
Top Tips to Start Practicing the Sit-Stand Lifestyle and Keep Going
Like any habit, alternating between sitting and standing when you work entails consistency and practice. It’s not a sure path to success but often a journey of trial and error, of failing but continuing until you get the hang of it and it becomes second nature.
Timing: how long should you sit and stand?
There are guidelines you can follow, but the straightforward answer is this—get to know your body and listen to what it needs. If you’ve always performed your work seated, for 8 hours or longer each day, you can’t expect yourself to become comfortable when alternating between sitting and standing right away.
The general suggestion is to stand for an hour for every one to two hours of sitting, and this can be broken into every 30 minutes. However, if you have started and you find that you get too tired and cannot follow this guideline yet, that’s okay. You can time yourself at the beginning and just see to it that you are progressing over time, that you’re able to stand longer after a while.
Putting pressure on yourself can be detrimental to your progress, so don’t forget to be gentle to yourself, especially at the beginning.
Give your feet and legs their needed support when sitting and standing
Expect to experience some level of fatigue when you are just starting to go into a sit-stand lifestyle; this is normal as your body adjusts to a new habit.
However, know that there is something you can do to minimize fatigue—get some support for your feet and legs in the form of foot rests and anti-fatigue mats.
Foot rests provide the feet with an elevated surface to rest on while you are seated. This relaxes the feet and also improves blood flow and circulation, preventing strain and stiffness.
Meanwhile, an anti-fatigue mat is one that you can step on while you work standing. Some mats are soft, able to absorb pressure so that your feet don’t get easily tired. Other mats have ridges that can massage the soles, while there are mats that encourage movement while you’re standing, keeping your leg muscles active.
Both foot rests and anti-fatigue mats can help you become more comfortable whether seated or standing.
Automate to make the shift from sitting to standing easier
When something is easier to do, making it a habit also becomes easier. When it comes to practicing a sit-stand lifestyle, you have to make sure that it’s easy and convenient.
If you have to move from one place to another, say from a regular desk to a taller desk across the room, every time you’re alternating between sitting and standing, that’s not easy. If you have to use a manual crank to adjust the height of your manual standing desk from sitting to standing height, and back, every time you’re changing position, that’s not easy. When you get tired of doing that, it’s easy to just abandon the practice and discontinue.
So, make it easy for yourself. One recommendation is to invest in an electric standing desk. This desk is powered by a motor and comes with a keypad that you just need to press to adjust the height. Depending on the desk you get, there are different set heights to choose from, so it’s easier to adjust. Just press the button, wait for a few seconds, and you have the right desk height. Easy.
So, are you ready for a sit-stand lifestyle? Whether you feel ready or not, if you recognize the health benefits that it provides, then there’s no reason to wait—now is the best time to start.
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