Stand-up Computer Desks
Sounds weird eh...standing up at the computer? Yet more people are doing it and there are desks available through retail outlets that have been purpose designed for standing.
The problem is, it's not uncommon for people who spend hours at a computer desk to suffer from significant upper back and neck problems. Too many of us don't keep a straight back and tend to slump forward, with our necks protruding toward the screen. It's all too easy to lose track of time when we become absorbed by what's going on at the screen and before you know it, you've been sitting down in the same position for hours. Over time this can cause real health issues. For example, you may end up causing harmful
strain on the discs and joints in your back, which will likely lead to more
permanent and painful problems long term. Scary.
Health Risks of Sitting
However, even we do sit correctly, there's convincing evidence that long periods of sitting can pose serious health risks and shorten life expectancy, even if you exercise regularly. Sitting for hours has been associated with an increased risk of death from cardio-vascular disease, regardless of how healthy you are otherwise. Doubly scary. Read more about it at Scientifc American:
What is fascinating is that the relationship between sitting time and mortality was independent of physical activity levels. In fact, individuals who sat the most were roughly 50% more likely to die during the follow-up period than individuals who sat the least, even after controlling for age, smoking, and physical activity levels.
To keep a good posture,whether standing or sitting, it's important to keep your wrists at the correct level for the keyboard - elbows should be at a 90 degree angle to the keyboard, otherwise you'll be twisting and bending in some way. If you are going to sit, ensure your chair is pushed in close enough to the desk, or you wont be able to help slouching forwards. Another important thing to remember is to take frequent breaks! Even if it's only for a couple of minutes -stretch, bend, twist sideways -anything that will promote a bit of movement and flexibility. As it's all too easy to lose track of time while you're absorbed in some online task it's not a bad idea to invest in a timer that will *buzz* you out of your computer stupor at regular intervals.
For ultimate comfort, the ideal workstation would be one where you can switch between standing and sitting position, such as the one below.
Add a Gel Mat
For ergonomic benefit, extra comfort and to reduce strain on your feet, add a gel mat for standing on. Primarily designed for kitchens, they work just as well for standing at the computer.
The mats are made with a soft, shock-absorbing gel and are especially good if you have hard wooden, ceramic tiled or concrete floors.