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Standing at a desk all day long will take practice, but it is possible.
Standing on your feet while working is a bit of work. If you’ve never done it before, then you may find that as you’re starting that you can’t go for more than a few minutes without needing to sit down or take a break. It may seem like standing at your desk all day long is never going to happen. Keep at it and you can get there eventually.
We wrote an article last year about building your own standing desk. This desk is an excellent option if you’re able to stand at your desk all day long. However, it’s probably not the best option if you’ve never stood at your desk before or you’re just getting started. We’d highly recommend starting with something that won’t require you to stand the entire day until you’re ready to do so.
In order to build up to standing at a desk all day, you should start by standing for periods as long as you can at the desk. Depending on your current health situation, you may find that more than 10 minutes and your legs and back are already tired. That’s perfectly normal. Stand for 10 minutes, sit for 30 minutes and then stand for 10 minutes again. Work to make your periods of standing longer over time.
As you work on building your standing stamina, you should also make sure that you work to get away from your desk for periods of time as well. Standing all day has its benefits, but if you’re not also moving around some then you’ll find that your legs will start to hurt worse. Take a short walk around the house or office at least once an hour to get the blood flowing again in your legs. Trying to stand all day without moving and stretching those legs is extremely difficult.
Make sure that you have a standing mat as well. This will go a long way in helping your feet to have the cushion they need to stand for longer periods of time. If you’ve used a standing mat before, you will know the difference it actually makes in helping your feet and legs from becoming too tired to stand on all day.
If you work at home, you can take your shoes on and off to mix up what you’re standing on as well. Generally, we’d recommend you keep your shoes on most of the time as it’s simply easier on your feet to have the additional cushion, but if you want to change it up a little, then taking your shoes off can make a big difference.
Once you’ve moved to a full time standing desk, then make sure that you’re taking breaks naturally when they present themselves. For example, sit down for lunch or meetings. Standing all day long without every sitting simply isn’t realistic. Use times that it’s natural to sit down to do so - your feet are still looking for a break when they can get it. When you’re sitting, roll your feet a little to help stretch both your feet and your legs out.
Try to keep your weight evenly distributed between your two feet when standing. It’s natural that you’ll want to switch weight between your feet, but you’ll likely find that it leads to more pain than what you get out of it. Often you’ll put too much weight on the leg and you’ll end up stretching your quad a bit more than you want to . Keeping your weight evenly distributed will make it much easier to stand for longer periods of time.
Learning to stand at a desk all day will take several months to accomplish. Take it slowly and make sure that you take care of the rest of your body as you make the transition - it will make standing over the long term worth the benefits.