standing at a desk

The Health Benefits of a Standing Desk

I used to sit a lot, at least until my back was injured in November 2020 and for months I couldn’t sit. It changed everything for me. Until then, the health benefits of a standing desk hadn’t occurred to me. Even when I placed a box on my desk and my laptop on top of it so that I could work standing, I didn’t think of any benefits. I just wanted to stop the pain and heal.

When I found out more about standing desks and their benefits, I could finally relate, because I had been teaching online and writing books and articles while standing for months. Of course, I didn’t spend endless hours standing; I took frequent breaks, went for walks, stretched my legs, and I did quick exercises in between.

In May 2021, my back was finally better and I could sit again for more than an hour. I now spend more time sitting at my desk, but the standing desk has been on my mind, and it has become a habit now to alternate between standing, walking, and sitting.

The Health Benefits of a Standing Desk

Why Should You Consider Getting a Standing Desk?

Sitting for prolonged periods is not recommended. It’s always best to stop every hour and take a small break, move those legs. I just get up and go for a 5-minute walk, or even 2 minutes. It makes all the difference.

So, what are the benefits of standing desks? According to Healthline, standing desks can:

  • Reduce back pain
    • I can attest to this, because when I had my back injury I felt little to no pain when I was standing.
  • Lower your risk of weight gain and obesity
    • Sitting all day burns few calories and significantly adds to weight gain.
    • When you stand you burn more calories. An afternoon of standing at your desk burns 170 more calories than if you would be spending an afternoon sitting. How many calories are those per week? Around 1000!calories
  • May lower your risk of heart disease
    • That’s nothing new. The first time this idea was mentioned was in 1953.
    • After studies on bus conductors it was concluded that a sedentary lifestyle may increase heart disease more than a 100% – up to 147% in fact … According to the National Library of Medicine, the damage done by a full day of sitting can’t even be undone by a full hour of rigorous exercise … So, I suppose that more standing during the day may be in order.
  • Help improve energy and boost productivity
    • When I spent those months standing at my desk I was certainly energetic. When I first started doing this, I didn’t think that I would be able to get much work done, but I surprised myself. I was alert, had a good mood, and I got a lot of work done.

So, now that we know this, it looks like standing desks are more than just a fad. They are beneficial for our health.

Final Thoughts and Ideas

I would suggest combining standing and sitting. For example, when I had to write long texts of a few thousand words I would do half or 1/3 standing and – in the months that my back was improving – do the rest sitting for as much as possible. Now that my back has healed, I can sit as long as I want (ah, the freedom! Seriously, once you lose a certain ability you realize how we take our bodily functions for granted).

What I do nowadays is a combination of sitting, walking, and standing. I always take my walks in between. Those breaks are necessary. Even a two-minute walk can recharge those batteries.

Whether you spend your days standing or sitting, always make sure you take frequent breaks, and remember not to sit for hours on end. It really isn’t recommended.

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8 thoughts on “The Health Benefits of a Standing Desk

  1. Hi there Christine! This is very true! I think a lot of times we think “Sitting” is the best most relaxed postion. From personal experience I disagree! Standing is actually way more comfortable in the long run. When I used to sit to work, read for long hours, My spine/back, buttocks always did feel stressed. I totally agree with you! These standing desks are a great idea

  2. I love to write. But as a writer, we tend to pass hours sitting at our desk. And I have already begun to experience back pain. I know that the human body was not designed to be so many hours sitting down. And one of the things that has made me consider buying a standing desk is that if I am in pain, I can not write. So in order to do what I most love, I’ll test alternatives.

  3. Hey,

    I have seen people in our office (before lockdown) working on standing desks. They had obviously heard about the benefits of it too. I even tried it once or twice and for about an hour, it did serve a purpose. But, as you say, I integrated the standing desk with the sitting desk. I don’t think I could last a full 8 hours or more without sitting down 🙂

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    1. Hi Tom,

      I’m glad you agree, integrate the sitting desk with the standing desk. I think that will make a great combination.
      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Hi Christine,

    People are standing and working in my office around 13:30-15:00, so I know how standing could push away drowsiness in the afternoon. But I don’t know it also brings health benefits, especially for the calories and your hearts!

    I’ll apply for a standing desk at my office and try to follow your instructions to mix sitting, walking, and standing to be more efficient at work.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Matt

  5. I am truly struggling with my back pain as well as I write this lol. Getting a standing desk has been on my mind lately and am glad your post popped up. Sitting down always makes back pain worse and I am happy to get computer work done while I stand. What is the ideal height the standing desk should be, would you say?

    1. Hi Sasha,

      Ideally, your standing desk should be at elbow height. Try it out at that height first and see if it’s comfortable.
      I hope your back gets better!

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