Set-up your Standing Desk For #NOPAIN
Super excited to be out of that chair?! You should be, standing is awesome! With this said, I do see quite a few injuries related to slouching while standing (Is this a thing?! Absolutely!) But don’t worry, it's fixable with a few fun games to keep you upright. First, the set-up!
4 EASY STEPS:
1. Stand up straight to measure
2. Set desk height just below your elbow
3. Set the monitor up to eye height
4. Pull your elbows towards your sides
5. DON' T LEAN YOUR HIPS ON THE DESK!
Though it is a great way to not do any work to hold yourself up, try to keep your hips away from the edge of your desk UNLESS you move your feet forward so you aren’t loading into your poor low back. How do you know if your forward hip lean is destructive? Look down while you are doing it, if your hips are forward and over your toes (instead of back over your heels) — Pain quickly ensues.
Above: The BIGGEST Low-Back Related NO-NO: Letting your hips rest on the desk
Why does shifting your hips forward to rest against the desk cause back pain?
-Jams the joints of your low back
-Sets you up for hamstring injuries
-Forces your head out in front of your shoulders to counter balance
-Allows your mid back to get locked in a “C” curve
Shifting your hips forward is fraught with issues. First, it arches your low back, jamming the joints along the back of the spine and squishing fluid out of the discs along the front, both bad.
It allows your hamstrings to remain in a shortened contracted length throughout the day, which isn't good for hiking, running or skiing!!
It forces you into FHP, or forward head position, which doubles the amount of work your body does to hold up your head for every INCH that your head is shifted forward. (Which is why an 8 pound head can feel like 42 pounds, if it is 2.5 inches forward and 1.3 inches to the side, you are setup for fatigue and injury doing anything fun after work. Frown.)
So, on to the FUN Game Fix: Penguin Feet!
This game atetmpts good posture and teaches you where neutral is simply by trying to stand as tall as possible, and also adding a difficult toe raise (all your toes) at the same time without letting your posture change. You might NOT be able to raise your toes... This means you spend all your time standing on them. We don't want them to wear out early do we? Get off those toes!
Shify your hips slightly back over your heels, and now try to stand tall. Can you lift your toes a little better, maybe wobble a little less? Good. Lets incorporate it into your posture. Often small changes feel huge, so don't worry you are sitting with your butt way out there, look in the mirror, you likely can't see a change at all! (unless you have a trained eye, which is the goal here). The photo above is actually someones example of GOOD posture, but it isn't good at all. He has all the same issues as you might, he just doesn't know it. Posture is earned, as is a good long healthy life. ABuse it you lose it, don't use it you lose it. Lets get those postural stabilizers nice and long and let that spine (and toes) last for all your favorite endeavors after work, for it is after these that you have pain, not after work. See the relationship?! Bonus points if you do!
Can you raise your toes and not lose your good alignment? TRY IT!
You must weight back over your heels to stand up straight.
How'd it go?! Practice makes perfect!
And keep it fun, improvement speeds up if it's a game!