Is a Standing Desk for You?

Nancy Anderson
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Lower back pain, poor blood circulation and poor physical stamina are just a few reasons why many workers have abandoned their cushy desk chairs and traditional work desks in favor of standing desks. It's no secret that living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to some potentially serious health issues, but are standing desks really a healthier option? Here are some things to consider before deciding if this type of desk is right for you.

Benefits of Standing Desks

A person who stands while working is more likely to move around, stretch his arms, and walk a few steps to engage with colleagues or join a nearby conversation. This constant movement helps increase blood flow throughout the body and can keep the mind more alert throughout the workday. It's also less likely that you'll get sleepy if you're standing, particularly after meals. Standing upright can also help improve your posture, as individuals are more likely to slouch forward when sitting at a desk for long hours. Standing can also help minimize stiffness and soreness in the back that often develops from long periods of sitting.

Standing Desk Disadvantages

Simply trading in your traditional desk for a standing desk is not enough to ward off the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. If you stand in the same spot for many hours with minimal movement, you might experience many of the same disadvantages associated with sitting for too long, including stiffness, back pain, poor blood flow and tiredness. Leg and foot soreness are also factors when you're standing up, and long workdays can be quite strenuous on your body. Lack of privacy is also a consideration if you have an open workspace, as individuals with standing desks are typically visible to everyone in the office.

Making the Switch

If your body is used to sitting all day long, you might experience great discomfort if you switch from a sitting desk to a standing desk overnight. Make the transition gradually. Keep a chair near your standing desk so you have a place to sit during lunch or when your legs start to feel tired. Wear comfortable shoes, and place a gel mat beneath your feet if your goal is to stand for most of the day. Keep your computer at eye level while you're standing to prevent slouching, and don't hesitate to use your chair if you're extra busy and need some privacy.

Whether you're sitting or standing, it's also important to walk away from your desk periodically throughout the day. Use your break time to stretch your legs, back and feet, and walk outside for a few moments to take in some fresh air and get your blood flowing.

For some people, standing desks might be a healthier option, as they can offer a few physical benefits over sitting desks when used properly. However, both standing and sitting desks can adversely affect your health if you don't incorporate some physical activities into your daily routine, as well

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at


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