What's the Right Sitting-to-Standing Ratio? We Turn to Science to Find the Answer

"How much should I stand at my UPLIFT Desk?"

We get this asked so much in our Frequently Asked Questions and in calls to our Support Team, and it's common a question for a lot of users of height adjustable desks. If you're new to using a standing desk, finding that right sitting-to-standing balance can take a little time. We've even discussed this topic amongst ourselves in the office, trying to find that right ratio for each of our bodies that keeps us energized and alert. But no matter how much we went back and forth, the answer still remained obscure and different from person to person.

Thankfully, this question can be solved with science, and a recent study conducted by the University of Waterloo is finally able to set the sitting-to-standing ratio record straight. The verdict? Using advanced ergonomic and health risk calculations, professor and researcher Jack Callaghan concluded that the ideal sit-stand ratio lies somewhere between 1:1 and 1:3. He says his research also shows that people should be standing for at least 30 minutes per hour to get health benefits.

So how does that break down for you and your workday?

Using the 3:1 ratio example, if you work an 8 hour day, that means you should be standing for about 45 minutes of every hour. Switch it up and take a seat for that last 15 minutes, and then take a short break to improve circulation and get your metabolism moving again before you start the next hour.

I tried this myself, and the ratio seems to be pretty accurate for keeping comfortable at my standing desk. In a matter of just a few days, I got used to standing a majority of the hour, and would listen to my body if I felt any fatigue from standing and switch up my posture accordingly. Sometimes I felt like sitting, and other times I felt like moving. It's important to note the pertinence of alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day, and not to get stuck in one position for too long. It's the ergonomic credo: Move more! Move early and move often, and you'll be less likely to suffer from lower back pain that can develop when you stand for too long. Because you wouldn't want to solve one problem only to create a new one. 

And while you're getting adjusted to the new sit-stand lifestyle, build up your core strength with stretches and desk exercises. It's easy to energize sleepy muscles with an ergonomic accessory like a motion board or an active mat.  

For more tips and tricks on how to stay healthy at your ergonomic workstation, subscribe to our newsletter and check back in on our blog.