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Benefits of a Standing Desk

Updated on November 12, 2016
An example of a home made standing desk
An example of a home made standing desk

We are often told that we sit down too much, and for a lot of people moving from the office, to the car, and then to the couch means we just change seats without getting any exercise.

Standing desks are the new way of increasing your health and making yourself feel better. This Hub discusses the benefits of a standing desk and also how you can build your own very cheaply.

You burn more calories when you are standing

Research shows that we burn an average of 50 calories more every hour that we stand. In fact, according to, an overweight man weighing 256lb can burn an average of 512 calories a day standing for 8 hours. That's a serious amount of calories for just changing from sitting to standing.

The benefits of a standing desk are clear: standing rather than sitting can help combat weight gain and even help fight obesity when it forms part of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

A standing desk Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

According to the World Health Organisation, 95% of the world's population are inactive. The Stand Up to Diabetes campaign says that standing for periods during the day can help to reduce blood sugar levels which can help to defeat Type 2 Diabetes.

A standing desk increases circulation

There is plenty of evidence to show that sitting for long periods of time can cause problems with circulation. A well know example of this is people who develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) from sitting down for long periods of time playing computer games.

There are also plenty of reports of people developing blood clots from sitting for long period on planes.

A standing desk can help reduce the risk of cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, women who sat for six or more hours daily faced a 37% greater risk of death as compared to those who sat for three hours or less.

In addition, health website Dr Whittaker says getting away from our desks and armchairs is integral to preventing cancer as it reduces the build-up of markers that raise cancer risk, including inflammation.

It makes sense that standing up straight and working is going to be more beneficial than sitting hunched over a desk.

It improves digestion

There is a lot of research to show that standing up whilst eating helps to improve digestion and prevent bloating. Advocates of the Paleo diet have long waxed lyrical about the advantages of standing to improve digestion.

"Human bodies aren’t adapted to hunching over in a chair with our necks sticking forward all day" says the website and if you think about that, it makes perfect sense.

What's more, people also report increased back pain if they sit all day. Ancient man didn't sit; we walked, stood and lay.

It's better for your posture and may reduce back pain

The concept of sitting is a relatively modern thing to humans, and the amount we sit has increased exponentially over the past 50 years with the introduction of the typewriter and then the personal computer. Office based jobs are must more common now compared to before this time when we were carrying out more manual jobs and on our feet a lot more.

However, bad posture from sitting for long periods of time can lead to carious ailments including back pain. Mankind just isn't designed for sitting for such long periods of time and the benefits of a standing desk for reducing back pain and spinal curvature are proven.

It makes you feel more alert

I've been using my standing desk for a couple of weeks now, and I definitely feel more productive. I seem less tired in the afternoons as well.

I've not no scientific evidence to prove that I'm more alert, but I definitely feel more alert. There are also a number of people who report the same in various blogs related to standing desks.

It's important to make sure you take regular breaks from standing at your desk.
It's important to make sure you take regular breaks from standing at your desk.

You can build a standing desk yourself

There are loads of different options for making a standing desk and they don't have to be expensive. I made the World's Cheapest DIY Standing Desk for less than £16, that's about $19 at the time of writing.

You can also buy a number of different addons for your existing desk to enable you to save some money and convert your own desk - you don't have to replace your entire desk.

You should still sit at times

It's important to stress that you should avoid standing for 8 hours straight, as this can have some negative effects and cause backache. Instead, try to take regular resting breaks in between standing.

I have my laptop on my desk as well as much desktop computer, and I move between the two. I type emails sitting and then do other work standing. That way I get the balance between the two.

Other ways of exercising at work

  • drink plenty of water to make you walk to the toilet more often
  • take the stairs instead of the lift
  • stand up whilst on the phone
  • try and talk 'walking meetings' rather than sitting around a table
  • set a time on your phone to remind you to walk around every half an hour or so


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