Should I Get a Standing Desk?

Maybe. But the main thing you should do is resist the temptation to sit, especially in a single position, for hours at a time.

In 2010, an infographic called Sitting Down Is Killing You burned up the intertubes, sharing some meaningful statistics and a (melo)dramatic case against being seated (and grossly overselling the good old days of widespread engagement in manual labor). For one thing, it claims our exercise levels are the same over recent decades, and only our amount of sitting is greater. Arguable, and there’s an effect that people who take up an exercise program become more sedentary the rest of the day, but even so it’s disingenuous to fail to account for the increase in per capita calorie intake during the same time. Our current problems with obesity and health complications are more complex than seated desks, and the solutions will have more to them than just standing up. Plus, abruptly abandoning sitting can be painful ā€” and people who stand all day can often use some corrective steps, as well.

There’s no doubt you should move around more during the day, whether it’s getting up to walk around or do some jumping jacks every hour, changing your seated position, or doing a yoga pose or two right at your desk. These small breaks have been recommended in ergonomics circles for decades ā€” they are good for your eyes, your wrists, and probably your brain as well.

I Kinda Like the Idea of a Standing Desk

There’s no good reason not to use one and good enough reasons to use one, as long you are mindful of posture, standing surface, and options for elevating a foot. Some standing desks have a built-in foot rail, as you might see in a bar (they help with comfort and relieving pressure on your back). Another option is a hutch or adjustable stand that enables you to place your work at standing height on a standard desk or nearby surface, and do a mix of sitting and standing.

If you like having a project and want to customize something for a home office or an unusual space, the DIY and Ikea Hacker communities have lots of ideas. And if you want a spectacularly head-turning project, you can even build your own Hamster Wheel Standing Desk, as illustrated above!

Do you use a standing or adjustable desk? What makes it work well for you?


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