Standing Desks: Should You Get One?

Back in the 19th century, a desk that you could use while standing was the bourgeois luxury of the time. Fast forward to the first quarter of the 21st century, and we’re seeing the trend pick up again. What’s happening? Did our centuries somehow collide with one another? Or are people starting to buy standing desks for good reasons? There’s a lot of back-and-forth going on regarding the standing desk innovation, and I’m going to try to clear all of it up for you so that you can make an informed decision as to whether you should buy one or not.

Health Benefits


Almost everyone on the web is touting the health benefits of getting a standing desk. This comes from a very simple theory, and it goes something like this:

“What’s the biggest health problem right now?” – “Heart disease!”
“What do we do with most of our time?” – “We sit!”

As a result, we associate heart disease with sitting down excessively. Standing desks were seen as a solution to this problem. If you’ve ever worked from 9 to 5 at the checkout counter of a grocery store for more than a year, you’d know that standing for many hours does things to your body, too. Added to the fact that you’re now relying on your wrists to ease off a little weight from your feet, you end up increasing your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.

So, should we completely discount the health benefits of standing desks, given the risks?

Is There a Net Benefit, Anyhow?

There are many people, like the fellow in the image below, who will comment on articles like this one touting the eye-opening comfort of standing up on your feet without any pause.


This example was very transparent (HealthyOfficeSpace). There are others that aren’t as obvious, though.

The conclusion of the medical community is that “limited evidence was found to support a positive relationship between occupational sitting and health risks.” However, we can’t deny that the body needs a little bit of leg stretching here and there.

So, if standing up for too long is bad and sitting down for too long will really shorten your life, then what are you supposed to do?


If you badly want to get a standing desk anyway, get one that’s adjustable. That way, you can turn it into a sitting desk at any time when you’re feeling exhausted. Your fine motor skills are impeded when you’re standing, sometimes making it difficult to adjust your mouse precisely, so you may have to use the sitting function a lot if you’re a designer.

What if you like your cozy chair and don’t want a bunch of ergonomic gizmos in your house or workplace? Just stretch your legs every twenty minutes or so. Get out, walk a short distance, and keep that circulation flowing. When you’re sitting, your circulation starts getting lazy and your legs go into “Save me!” mode. Give them a little whirl, and they’re back in tip-top shape!

While you are here, don’t forget to check out the various ways to prevent Repetive Strain Injury while you are typing on the keyboard.

Let Us Know About Your Experiences!

Do you have a standing desk and feel like I didn’t tell the full story? Comment below with your story and how your life has gotten better or worse as a result of your desk!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.


  1. I’ve recently set up a standing workspace at home, since I spend quite a bit of time at the computer on my days off. Although I walk 90 minutes a day, I thought the extra “on feet” time would help as well, as long as my feet could handle it.
    That’s the weak point for me; my feet. Once they start to ache a bit, I switch back to a seated type of workspace.
    However, while seated, I try to use a half Lotus position (first right leg on top, then left, then right, etc.) to keep the blood flowing. I do this from past Yoga routines that kept me limber when I ran frequently. It does seem to help, but I cannot recommend it to anyone until they’ve limbered up enough to do a half Lotus from a seated position on the floor, using a mat or other soft surface. When I get to the point where the half Lotus has reached its “limits” for me, I get up, walk around a bit, and then stand for a bit.
    I’ve not been doing this regimen for very long, so I can’t really give it a yea or nay; I would have to agree with the author that variation is probably the best route to follow.

    1. Have you tried using a medicine ball chair? I heard the experience is pretty cool, but I’m very skeptical about it.

  2. Don’t be fooled. It’s all a dastardly plot by the furniture manufacturers designed to make us buy more furniture. :-)

    After spending most of my life running, cross-country skiing and bicycle riding, it is time I finally sat down. Besides, I have barely enough space in my “computer room” for one desk, let alone two.

  3. I have been using several solutions during 30 years now.
    This is what I ended up using now:

    I have an in height adjustable desk so I can stand or sit when I feel for it. while standing I have an in height adjustable stool (Stocke) so I can kind of lean on it when standing. I got this idea form my time as technical designer behind a drawing board (the large vertical ones) where you also stand a lot. I always found this very convenient.

    When I sit I have two options: a normal chair and a kind of medical ball. I fact this is a 80 cm large ball often used in training facilities for balancing. It sits really nice and makes me sit straight and helps me keep my back in shape. The size of the ball depends on your own length and I am tall (192 cm) every sports shop should have these balls for about 10 to 20$. Sitting on my ball I often swing back and forward to “train” my back. I normally only sit max 3 hours on that ball. Using it longer will tier my back and have an negative effect. I must say that the ball it the best purchase ever in this area.
    I must admit that I sit more now I have that ball.

    And then there is the coffee machine (on the office) so I take a walk every now and then to get me a cup of coffee or tee and small talk with colleagues.

    BWT: Did you know that the most important decisions are made during the coffee breaks

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