For the tens of thousands of people in the United States with office jobs, sitting all day is normal. However, recently a new fad has popped up as an alternative in the office: standing desks. Right off the bat, this may sound like a great idea — get off your butt, get healthier; but in fact, this may not necessarily be the case. Take a closer look at this growing trend: the positives, negatives, and how to strike a balance.

Standing desk


Pros of a Standing Desk


  • Standing can help reduce back pain, and help with better posture
  • The less you are sitting for extended periods of time, the lower your risk of obesity and cancer (a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that people who spent most of the day on their butts had a 24% greater colon cancer risk
  • Standing at work can help burn calories
  • There is a better chance you will get your body moving when you stand vs. sitting at your desk


Cons of a Standing Desk


  • The cost — many standing desks start at $500 and if you’re interested in something slow-moving (like a treadmill desk), those can cost $800+
  • Standing all day can also cause injury, such as leg cramps, and achey feet 
  • Using a standing desk can start to give some numbness in your feet and toes due to hyperextending your knee
  • You must be more aware of what you wear to work, like possibly avoiding high heels and other uncomfortable shoes [image]

Striking a Healthy Balance


Instead of making a drastic change that may turn not turn out as you expected, try one of these alternatives:

Alternative seating

Taking walks during breaks at work, or whenever possible will help increase blood flow (and it’s great to clear your head!)

  • Choosing the right chair is very important — be sure the seat you choose is ergonomic and right for you (body type, etc.)
  • Stretching can help your body feel better, even if you do it at your desk!
  • Work from a shared office or coworking space — many times, these types of office spaces have great options and comfortable seating to make you feel comfortable and productive [image by Christopher Patterson]

See: 4 Reasons to Work from a Shared Office


The next time your back is sore at work, or your neck is feeling a little tight, don’t just run out to the store to purchase a standing desk. Instead, take the time to see what your needs really are, weigh the pros and cons, and you might even consult a doctor if necessary.


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Information sources:

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