By now, most of us know how dangerous it can be to sit all day: it takes a toll on your weight, your veins and your heart. In order to fight this prevalent problem, many Americans have turned to standing desks, especially if you’ve switched to a work-from-home setting and are spending more time on your rear.
Still, standing all day can also be a problem, leaving you with foot pain, swollen feet and legs, and overworked, collapsed veins that swell and protrude. Ready to switch to a standing desk, but want to avoid extra health problems? Read on for our list of the top ways to benefit from a standing desk!
Four Ways to Make Standing Desks Work for You
- Switch it Up Every Hour. Most people who experience problems with standing desks suffer because they stand still for too long. If you alternate between sitting and standing every hour or so, you can avoid the downsides of staying put in any one position.
- Build Tolerance Slowly. Just because you see coworkers standing for a full hour, every day, doesn’t mean your body can handle that pressure on the first day your new desk arrives. Standing is a form of exercise so, like any sport, you should slowly increase your endurance. On your first week, try standing for 15 minutes at a time, then take a long sitting break. Once you’re really comfortable, you can add to your time, working in 10-minute increments. And remember, never work towards periods lasting longer than an hour in one position.
- Create Accountability. When you first shift to a standing desk, you may forget to get up from your chair. Or, once standing, you may forget to sit at a safe and appropriate interval. To help you get into a comfortable rhythm, it can be useful to set alarms at 15 minute intervals, reminding you to stand up or sit down.
- Carefully consider your footwear. As we mentioned earlier, standing should be considered physical activity, so if your office dress code allows it, opt for sneakers, especially in the early days of your standing desk. If sneakers are too casual, opt for a supportive shoe with room for cushion or gel insoles. This will help take a lot of pressure off your feet and lower extremities.
Standing Desk Exercises to Boost Blood Flow
Luckily, if you’ve got a smart phone, it’s easier than ever to protect your vein health during shifts from sitting to your standing desk. One app we’re excited about is Workout Exercises on Your Office Chair, a free offering for iOS and android systems.
Most of their workouts are designed for your standing desk breaks, when you’re down on your chair. (And we love that, since it will force you to take breaks from standing.) Each of their 13 signature moves can boost blood flow by getting your heart pumping. But we’re really digging their chair bicycle move, since it builds your core strength while also moving blood in and out of your legs. (This could help fight edema, swelling in your lower legs due to fluid build-up.)
Of course, even when you take care to adapt properly to a standing desk, it is quite easy to overdo things and put pressure on your veins, legs and feet. If you’ve noticed that the veins in your legs are more prominent in color, or seem to be bulging, it could be a sign of a developing problem like varicose veins. And that means that it’s time to schedule an immediate consultation with your Houston vein doctors to avoid further damage.