What Is a Standing Desk?

A standing desk, also called a stand-up desk, is basically a desk that allows you to stand up comfortably while working.

Many modern versions are adjustable, so that you can change the height of the desk and alternate between sitting and standing.

These are referred to as height-adjustable desks, or sit-stand desks.

Although research is still in early stages, it does appear that using a standing desk can have impressive benefits for health. It may also increase productivity.

At the very least, using this type of desk can partly negate the harmful effects of sitting too much.

Here are some benefits of using a standing desk, that are supported by science.

1. Standing Lowers Your Risk of Weight Gain and Obesity

Weight gain is ultimately caused by taking in more calories than you burn.

Conversely, burning more calories than you take in results in weight loss.

While exercise is the most effective way to burn calories quickly, simply choosing to stand instead of sitting can also be beneficial.

In fact, when compared to an afternoon of sedentary work, an equal amount of time spent standing has been shown to burn over 170 additional calories.

That’s almost 1000 extra calories burned each week from simply standing at your desk each afternoon.
This caloric difference could be one of the reasons why sitting longer is so strongly linked to obesity and metabolic disease.

2. Gives You an Energy Burst

In an analysis of 53 studies published in the Applied Ergonomics journal, having a standing desk encouraged workers to spend more time on their feet. Researchers in the UK found that 66% of workers felt more productive and 87% felt more energized by spending just an hour of their workday standing.

Small movements and active moments throughout the day help you stay awake and alert. You feel more engaged when you literally “think on your feet.” If you’re feeling sluggish throughout your workday, adding a few periods of standing can help you get back some of that energy and enthusiasm.

3. Improves Posture

Using a standing desk with proper ergonomics can help you have good posture at the computer. Your monitor should be at eye level, about 20 inches from your face at a 20-degree tilt, while you should bend your arms at 100-degree angles at your sides. Wrists should hover comfortably above the keyboard, with weight shifting between legs.

If you’re regularly standing, the right posture position will start to become second nature and doesn’t put the compression on your spine that sitting can. Sitting for more extended periods can put pressure on your back and discs, leading to back, shoulder, and neck discomfort.

4. Reduces Back Pain

Like poor posture, you may think back pain is caused by sitting, but it’s not something that you have to live with or accept as part of work. If you have a comfortable chair designed with back and lumbar support and alternate with periods of standing, you will likely remedy your minor back pain.

According to the NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 8 out of 10 people experience back pain during their lives. If your pain doesn’t get better with some minor posture adjustments, it may be time to reach out to one of our orthopedic experts to see if you need additional intervention.


5. Helps with Wrist Position

If you’ve sat with a laptop on your lap while typing, you’ve probably noticed your wrists start to fall and “rest” on your keyboard. This can lead to wrist strain and pain. Sufferers of carpal tunnel syndrome, a pinched nerve in the wrist may notice more discomfort when wrists are held in the wrong position (although contrary to popular belief, there’s no correlation between keyboard use and CTS).

It’s good to be cognizant of your wrist position and strain on your body while you work. If you use a standing desk, you can keep your arms comfortably bent at a 90-100-degree angle. This is often a more ergonomic position and may even improve your typing speeds!


6. Keeps Circulation Going

If we look back at human evolution, our bodies were made to move. When we stand, we improve our leg muscles, our balance, and our core strength. We also prevent blood clots from forming in the legs. When people sit for a long time (such as on a plane), blood may slow and pool in their legs. In the worst cases, this can lead to a blood clot.

When we stand up, we move our legs and get the blood flowing throughout our bodies. In some studies, people who sat for long periods even had shorter life spans due to poor cardiovascular health. Standing often is part of a healthier lifestyle.


7. Boosts Your Mood and Focus

Finally, if your workday seems long and you find yourself distracted, standing up can give you a focus and mood boost to increase your productivity. A study at Texas A&M University found people who stood up at work in a call center were 50% more productive.

Standing helps us feel healthier, and when we feel well, we’re often in a better mood. Participants in standing studies at work have reported improved mood as a peripheral benefit of standing at work. So if you’re having a slow workday (or feeling down), get on your feet!