Updated: Nov 23
Are the health benefits of standing desks worth it? Read the article to find out, plus get our top choices of the year.
5 Best Standing Desk Benefits + Best Standing Desk Picks
You might have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” - but what does that really mean? The expression refers to recent research that suggests that sitting for extended periods of time poses similar health risks to those of smoking. In fact, an analysis of 13 different studies found that people who sat for over eight hours each day had a similar risk of death to people who smoke or who are obese. [*] This is just one of the reasons many people are making the switch to standing desks. Read on to learn the benefits of a standing desk, as well as our top picks.
Top Benefits of Standing Desks
1) Improves Posture
One of the most common complaints of sitting at a desk all day is back pain. Prolonged sitting and staring at a screen often leads to poor posture, neck pain, and back issues. Multiple studies have shown a significant improvement (32% to 54%) in lower back, upper back, and neck pain after three to four weeks of standing desk use. [*][*] In one study, the use of a sit stand desk was even able to reverse pain in just two weeks. [*]
2) Facilitates Calorie Burn
We all know that exercise is the best way to burn calories, but you can burn some additional calories by working at a standing desk. In comparison to the time you'd spend sitting at work in just one afternoon, you could burn an additional 170 calories by standing. [*]
That means that just by standing for half a workday, you could burn 1,000 extra calories a week potentially lose weight, and lower your risk of obesity.
3) Boosts Energy, Mood, and Productivity
Studies show that standing desks can promote well-being. In one study, people using standing desks reported less fatigue and stress than people using normal desks.
Plus, 87% of participants using a standing desk reported improved energy and vigor during their workday. [*] With a better mood and increased energy, it's likely that a standing desk can also help boost productivity.
4) Lowers Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Heart health is vital for your overall well-being. High levels of sedentary time spent sitting are estimated to increase your risk of heart disease by as much as 147%. [*] Meanwhile, one study showed that people who stood all day for work had half the risk of death from a heart disease-related cause than people who sit for work. [*]
5) Promotes Longevity
Ultimately, working at a standing desk can offer a wide variety of health benefits, which boosts your longevity and chances of living longer. It lowers your blood pressure, decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease, improves your posture, lowers back pain, and boosts your mood.
Plus, standing desk users avoid weight gain by burning more calories, which may in turn offer a better quality of life. They also avoid being sedentary for long periods of time, which is linked with better life expectancy. [*]
How Long Should You Stand at a Standing Desk?
There's no doubt that standing desks offer lots of health benefits. So, how long do you need to spend standing at sit stand desks to reap all the benefits? You might think you'll need to stand all day, but that's far from the truth.
It's actually best to alternate between sitting time and standing time in a ratio of 2:1 or 1:1, with more time spent sitting. So, if you're just starting out, you'll spend one-hour sitting followed by 30 minutes standing, and so on.
Over time, you may find that you prefer to stand more, in which case you could stand for 30 minutes, then sit for 30 minutes. As with any physical change, be sure to stay tuned in to how your body feels and take sitting breaks if you need to.
*Improve your focus, productivity, energy, and comfort in your home office with an X-Chair and their many X-cessories.
Pros and Cons of a Standing Versus Sitting
With so many health benefits, are there any downsides to using a standing desk? Are there benefits of being in the sitting position? Here's a quick overview of the pros and cons.
Standing desks improve posture.
They offer back and neck pain relief.
You can avoid weight gain by burning more calories.
Standing desks lower your risk of heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.
The combination of health benefits improves your longevity.
Standing desks can improve your mood and energy levels.
Studies show that standing desks don't impact the ability of office workers to do tasks, so you can perform the same job whether you're sitting or standing. [*]
Standing desks may negatively impact back and leg muscles, tendons, and connective tissues if used for too long. [*] Be sure to alternate between sitting and standing to avoid issues.
You might want to invest in supportive shoes or a supportive standing mat to protect your feet and joints.
You'll need to adjust your keyboard, mouse, and computer screen position when you move from sitting to standing.
You may want to invest in arm supports to protect your wrist from pressure caused by standing desks.
The Best Way to Use a Standing Desk
While it is undoubtedly better for your overall health to use a standing desk, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you protect your muscles and joints during use. Use the following steps to set up your desk for optimal posture:
Set the desk height to meet your elbows, so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle when using your keyboard or mouse.
Put your monitor or laptop about 20 to 28 inches away from your face.
Use a monitor stand to ensure that the top of your screen is at eye level.
Tilt your monitor upwards about 10 to 20 degrees so that you maintain a stable neck looking straight ahead.
Keep the mouse and keyboard at the same height. Your wrists should be straight when typing, whether you're sitting down or standing.
Remember, you'll need to alternate between sitting and standing for the best results. That means you may need to readjust your computer or monitor settings each time you adjust your desk height to protect your neck. You may also readjust the mouse and keyboard to protect your wrists. These tweaks will take some thought at first, but should only take a minute or two.
If you do experience leg pain, you might consider getting an anti-fatigue mat. These are commonly used in occupations that require long periods of standing. The mats are designed to encourage you to subtly shift your leg muscles, which increases blood flow and reduces discomfort. The mats help ensure that your legs and lower back are supported while standing throughout the day.
Likewise, you might consider getting arm supports if you type a lot for work. These are small surfaces with soft padding that can attach to your desk, allowing you to rest your arms. They offer additional support for your wrists, but they also reduce the risk of shoulder and neck problems. [*]
Best Standing Desk Picks of 2024
The Airlift Standing Desk from Seville Classics ranks high among the best standing desks for its touchscreen controller, programmable settings, modern design, and spacious desktop. Still, even with all that space, it can fit easily into almost any office or apartment, no matter how small. It includes a nice storage drawer and USB ports for all your tech needs. Plus, you can write on the tempered glass surface with a dry erase marker.
Sleek design with rounded corners
Change desk heights with the touch of a button
Customizable by programming your desired desk heights
Drawer and spacious top for ultimate work experience
USB charging dock
Height maxes out at 47 inches
The EN1 from FlexiSpot is one of the most affordable electric stand up desk options at under $300. It includes three height presets that you can adjust with the touch of a button and extends up to 48 inches, so it works for people of most heights.
Space for 2 monitors
12 different finishes to choose from
Programmable memory presets to lock in your preferred heights
No drawer, but there is space to put freestanding storage underneath
Requires a drill for set up
The Comhar All-in-One standing desk from FlexiSpot is similar to the Airlift, with modern rounded corners, a drawer for organization, and USB ports. It's also got programmable buttons, so you can set up to four preferred heights that you can adjust to with the touch of a button. However, this desk is unique in that it has an anti-collision future, protecting you from accidentally crushing your chair or any other item when you're changing the height.
Three USB ports for your tech accessories
Modern design with 5 different finish options to match your office
Anti-collision feature protects nearby items or people
Quick 5-minute install
Height maxes out at 47.6 inches
Weight capacity maxes out at 110 pounds (other desks go up to 500 pounds)
The Vari Electric Standing Desk is super easy to put together and offers four programmable height settings. It's unique in that it also offers cord management - simply feed the cords from your monitors and computer into the cable management tray to keep your workspace clear of messy cables.
Five different finish options, including reclaimed wood
Easy set up in under 10 minutes
Sturdy, large workspace
Seated height goes as low as 25 inches for shorter folks
Ships in two boxes, making it lighter to carry in
No drawer for organization
Pricier than most at just under $700
The PneuDesk from ApexDesk is the only manually adjustable desks to make our list. Despite the lack of motor, the PneuDesk is easy to adjust thanks to its lift-lower lever, which provides a smooth, gliding motion as you change your desk height. It also has a slightly larger surface area at 55 inches.
No need for electricity, so you can adjust this desk height no matter the conditions
Wheels allow for easy movement
Easy screwdriver-only 20-minute installation
One of the more affordable options at $330
Height maxes out at 48 inches
Only two finishes: silver or black
Is a standing desk right for you? Most likely! We can all benefit from standing more and sitting less, especially since most of our jobs revolve around a computer screen.
If you’re looking for more smart ways to boost your health this year, check out our blog post on the best wellness apps of 2024 and be sure to stock up on well-being tools via the Etsy shop.
Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site, including text, graphics, images, and other material, is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your specific condition.