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The Other Side of the Standing Desk Conversation


All the health benefits you’ve heard about standing desks might not be true!

It seems like, for the past couple years, the hype of the standing desk has been sweeping the workplace. Externally of that, we’ve been seeing a huge increase in the awareness of a need to stay healthy at work. But what if we told you that the health advantages of a standing desk might be outweighed by the negatives? That’s right, there’s a decent chance that your newest health kick at work might actually be decreasing your productivity and increasing risk factors for various health concerns. Here are some common contradictions against the benefits of a standing desk.

Standing All Day is Basically Sitting All Day

We’ve all heard some variation of the idea that sitting all day is horrible for your health. While that might be true, what many people don’t realize is that standing all day isn’t helping your body stay healthy at work at all — it may actually be hurting you. Standing too much can compress your spine and introduce risks of some cardiovascular problems, since your heart has to fight gravity all day. The real benefits are actually in going from sitting to standing, or vice versa, frequently throughout the day. If nothing else, now you have an excuse for those extra trips to the water cooler.

Stillness is the Real Culprit

Sitting has been blamed for the difficulties associated with staying healthy at work while being stuck at a desk, but the reality is that those issues are a result of being sedentary all day. “It doesn’t matter if you’re standing or sitting, if you’re doing it statically, your body wasn’t designed that way,” says Ken Tameling , an ergonomic seating expert (source). “You need to move.” This can mean getting up and taking a brief walk around the office, or as simply as just fidgeting in your seat. “Any kind of micro-movement is going to give you some value,” Tameling says. “The worst thing you can do is sit in one posture – basically what you want to do is ignore your first-grade teacher.”

The Calorie Burn Isn’t Worth It

It’s true that standing burns about 20% more calories than sitting — that’s a fact. But it’s important to consider whether those extra hundred or so calories that you’ll burn throughout the day are worth the tradeoff of decreased comfort, health, and productivity. That mildly increased calorie burn is just making you more tired more quickly rather than making you healthy at work, and your fatigue is likely to distract you from your work. Besides, it’s more effective for your health and probably more fun to add another 10 or 15 minutes of exercise to your day to burn those calories you’d burn by standing all day.


These are just a few of many contradictions to the standing desk craze, but each one is important to consider when thinking about switching up your workspace. It’s no easy task staying healthy at work when spending 9-to-5 at a desk, but this 2016 office furniture trend might not be the way to go.

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