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Standing Desks

Study after study has shown that long-term sitting can cause many harmful health problems including cardiovascular disease, diabetes ,cancer, musculoskeletal joint degeneration and chronic pain. Office workers are at great risk due to the long hours spent sitting at computer workstations. There is a way to reduce this risk of long-term sitting and be healthier at work. The solution can be found in standing desks.

Standing desks allow people to take a break from long hours of sitting and vary their work posture. Standing desks are sometimes referred to as height-adjustable desks or sit-to-stand desks. Some have a mechanical lever and others use an electronic system to vary the height of the desk. There are some promising research studies that indicate that standing desks can be helpful in reducing the health risks related to sitting although more research is required. Intuitively, it makes sense to vary posture during the workday and it certainly helps people to improve their body positions and biomechanical awareness. Productivity can also be significantly impacted due to better concentration and comfort. Standing desks are a solution I have recommended to many patients and I have had excellent feedback over the past few years.

Here are some of the benefits of using a standing desk which have been researched by scientific studies:

  1. Reduce obesity: Standing for longer periods of time burns more calories. One study indicated that standing more regularly at work can burn an extra thousand calories per week.

  2. Reduce blood sugar: Elevated blood sugar levels can eventually lead to type II diabetes. A few promising studies have shown that people who stand more regularly during their work day tend to lower their blood sugar levels which can help to reduce the risk of diabetes.

  3. Lower the risk of heart disease: A number of studies have shown that standing for longer periods reduces heart damage and the tendency for high blood pressure.

  4. Reduce neck and back pain: A number of studies have indicated that standing helps to reduce complaints of neck and back pain in office workers. By offering varying postures, people can take pressure off of their lower back discs and the base of their neck which are the two most common areas of complaint related to computer tasks.

  5. Standing desks can improve mood and energy levels: One study showed that standing desks help people experience less stress and fatigue than sitting workers. People with standing desks reported an increase in their overall energy through the day. This can also call relate to a positive impact on diminished depression and anxiety.

  6. Increase productivity: People can work just as comfortably standing as they do sitting and one study has shown a boost in performance and productivity. This may be explained by improved concentration due to postural awareness, improve breathing and less compression on the body in general.

  7. Increase life expectancy:  Sitting has been described as the new smoking in our society so it would seem that using a standing desk would be a fresh approach to getting work done in reducing these risks. As noted above studies have been showing a reduction in heart disease, reduced risk for diabetes and overall improved mental health for office workers.


Obviously, more research needs to be done but employers and employees should be having a discussion about the value of standing desks. A number of companies have started recommending standing desks to their employees and are starting to reap the benefits of this important innovation.

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