Is using a standing desk better than sitting?

Posted by Amy Wallace Amy Wallace on .

The many benefits of using a standing desk rather than sitting for hours on end have been widely reported. While sitting encourages long periods of inactivity, standing can keep you moving and stretch out those muscles.

If you're not used to standing for hours on end, it can bring you as much pain, if not more than sitting all day. This is something that most people experience and can be fixed by gradually spending more time standing, rather than attempting a whole day's work in an unfamiliar position.

But what if you find yourself less focused and more exhausted from standing, even if you stagger your standing sessions with time sitting down? This is exactly how Mikael Cho, founder of Ooomf, felt, something which he explains in a blog posts on the Ooomf blog.

Mikael tried gradually adding more standing time to his day but found that even that method led to feelings of frustration and hurt rather than helping him productivity:

After two weeks, I was able to stand for about four hours a day, but I still needed to take multiple breaks. This was fine with me because I often need breaks throughout the day to refresh and maintain a good flow.

The problem with my standing desk however was it forced me to rest at times when my brain wanted to work.
It was hard for me to get into a flow while standing.

The standing desk helped me stay focused for certain tasks like answering email (partly because I knew I could only stand for so long). But when it came to tasks that required a bit more focused thought, like writing, I was distracted. I thought more about the pain in my legs than the words I was trying to put on the page.

This led to Mikael getting rid of his standing desk, but he did not give up on finding ways to be healthier at his desk. If you do feel the pressure from standing, there are some things you can do to make yourself healthier while sitting, writes Mikael, the first of which is to work with your feet up:

Work with your feet up. There are ways you can design your desk to help your posture and improve your circulation even if you’re sitting for most of the day. Working with your feet up while sitting has been proven to improve circulation in your legs. Research also shows that adjusting your chair to adjust to about 135 degrees reduces the pressure on your back from sitting in a chair for long periods.

Mikael goes on to explain two other things you can do to keep yourself healthy while sitting, so head over to his post to discover more about why he killed his standing desk and what he's doing instead.

Do you use a standing desk and find that it helps you work? We'd love to hear about your own experiments with standing and sitting desks so let us know in the comment below or by sending us an email. You can also follow us on Twitter!

Photo Credit: Alex Long