To stand or not to stand that is the question……..
I always encourage people to move more and get up from a seated position as much as possible in the day.
If you are stuck behind a desk or stuck in a car, then you really have to think about getting movement in your day.
I always say to try and walk or cycle to work where you can, get out at lunchtime for some fresh air and a walk, you can also park further away if you must commute by car so you can add a walk before work and after.
A lot of people are changing to a standing desk for work which I think is a fantastic idea. When I am on my laptop I tend to stand at the breakfast table or as I have just found out the ironing board is a fantastic standing height for me…………. I can catch up on Strictly whilst doing my programming and admin.
What are the perks of standing and it is worth investing in a standing desk? I would also get a high chair (puts you at a 45 degree angle so you are still not tightening the hips or messing up your posture) designed for standing desks that you can perch on from time to time as standing in one spot for hours can be uncomfortable on the feet, especially if you are at your desk more than you are away moving around. Also a standing mat is quite good to give you something softer to stand on, again it helps the feet and pressure.
Standing vs Sitting
- Standing stops you from slouching at your desk, you tend to engage your glutes more and core muscles when standing and hold yourself better than in a seated position.
- You can practice good posture whilst standing.
- Standing will stop your hips getting tight from being seated all day. When you sit your hip flexors are loose, muscles like to be tight, so they will tighten up in the seated position, which means when you stand the hip flexors will then tilt your pelvis forward (putting the pelvis in the incorrect position when standing), which in turn switches off the core muscles/glute muscles and stretches the hamstrings which makes them tight but weak. All round not good as this will affect posture over time.
- The correct set up with a standing desk is better for your neck and shoulders. The gaze is straight ahead rather than down, this allows you back muscles to engage properly and hold your head in the correct position, which should be straight above your body evenly stacked rather than hanging forward. This reduces a stretched/tight neck and upper back muscles. The imbalance can cause tension in the base of your skull and headaches.
- Standing better focuses you and stops the afternoon slumps. I think much better on my feet and I am much more productive than when I am seated.
- Standing desks can help with reducing back pain. It is normally bad posture that causes pain in the body whether that is in the back, neck, shoulders, chest etc. There will be pain if posture is incorrect so this is an important area to work on and reducing your seated time will greatly help. Slouching and sitting incorrectly for hours on end sets imbalances in the body which causes pain overtime.
- You are using more muscles standing which burns more energy so it is positive on the waistline as well.
- Standing is better for your health all round, it is said sitting is the new smoking……….. I think adding more standing and movement is a step in the right direction.
If you are seated all day and are feeling pain/discomfort in the body then you can reverse this by working on your posture by putting the imbalances right. With the correct training programme adapted to you and your needs, you can strengthen the weakened muscles and get balance back in to the body.
Here are a few stretches you can do to ease muscle pain caused by sitting, but for the best results and long lasting change then strengthening is needed on a weekly basis.