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The Truth About Standing Desks: Debunking Myths and Unveiling Facts

In recent years, standing desks have become a hot topic in the world of office ergonomics and workplace health. As more and more people seek alternatives to sedentary lifestyles, standing desks have emerged as a potential solution.

But with their rise in popularity comes a flood of questions and concerns. Are standing desks actually healthy? Are they worth the investment? How long should you stand at one? In this blog post, we’ll delve into these common queries and separate fact from fiction.

 

Are Standing Desks Actually Healthy?

Standing desks have acquired considerable attention for their potential to improve health outcomes and enhance overall well-being. By providing users with the flexibility to alternate between sitting and standing positions throughout the day, these desks offer a multifaceted approach to promoting better health in the workplace.

One of the primary benefits of standing desks is their ability to combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Research has consistently linked prolonged sitting to a range of health problems, including obesity, increased blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal issues and a higher risk of developing chronic diseases.

Standing desks offer an effective solution to this problem by encouraging users to incorporate more movement into their daily routine. By allowing individuals to switch between sitting and standing positions, these desks help break up sedentary behaviour.

This increased movement not only helps burn more calories but also improves circulation, reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems, and alleviates pressure on the joints and muscles.

Additionally, standing desks promote better posture and spinal alignment, which can help alleviate discomfort and reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal issues. When used correctly, standing desks encourage users to engage their core muscles and maintain an upright position, reducing the strain on the back, neck, and shoulders that often accompanies prolonged sitting.

Standing desks have also been shown to boost energy levels. Standing up and moving around periodically throughout the day can help increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain, leading to enhanced alertness, concentration, and productivity. Many users report feeling more focused and mentally sharp when using a standing desk, making them a valuable asset in the workplace.

For more information on the benefits of a standing desk check out our blog on 5 Health Benefits of Using a Standing Desk.

 

Adjust and set to your perfect height using the touch-sensitive control panel. Charge all your devices with ease with Jupiter's 2 x USB and 1 x USB-C charging ports.

How Long Should You Stand at a Standing Desk?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Experts recommend gradually increasing your standing time and listening to your body’s cues. A common guideline is the “20-8-2 rule,” which advocates for a balance between standing, sitting, and movement.

While the 20-8-2 rule provides a helpful framework, it’s essential to recognise that it may not be suitable for everyone. Some individuals may find it challenging to stand for extended periods due to discomfort or fatigue, while others may prefer longer intervals of standing interspersed with shorter sitting breaks. It’s crucial to listen to your body’s cues and adjust your standing routine accordingly.

Finding the right balance between standing and sitting requires experimentation and self-awareness. Pay attention to how your body feels during different activities and adjust your standing time accordingly.

If you experience discomfort or fatigue while standing, consider reducing the duration or incorporating more frequent breaks. Conversely, if you feel energised and comfortable while standing, you may choose to extend your standing intervals gradually.

In addition to alternating between sitting and standing, it’s essential to incorporate regular breaks and changes in posture throughout the day. Take short walks, stretch your muscles, or perform simple exercises to prevent stiffness and promote circulation. Experiment with different standing positions, such as shifting your weight from one leg to the other or using a footrest, to reduce fatigue and improve comfort.

Ultimately, the key to maximising the benefits of a standing desk is to find a balance that works best for you. Listen to your body, be mindful of your comfort level, and adjust your standing routine accordingly.

By incorporating regular breaks, alternating between sitting and standing, and maintaining good posture, you can optimise your productivity and well-being while using a standing desk.

 

standing desk

 

What Is the 20-8-2 Rule?

This rule recommends a structured pattern of alternating between sitting, standing, and engaging in movement or stretching exercises to optimise comfort and productivity throughout the workday.

According to the 20-8-2 rule, individuals are encouraged to stand for a duration of 20 minutes, followed by sitting for 8 minutes, and then engaging in brief movement or stretching activities for 2 minutes, all within a half-hour timeframe. With this structured routine, individuals can avoid prolonged static postures, which may contribute to discomfort, fatigue, and decreased circulation.

Standing for 20 minutes allows individuals to reap the benefits of increased circulation, improved posture, and enhanced energy levels associated with standing workstations. This interval provides an opportunity to relieve pressure on the lower back and lower extremities, promoting better blood flow and muscle engagement.

Following the standing interval, a period of 8 minutes of sitting offers a reprieve from standing, allowing individuals to rest and relax their muscles while maintaining proper spinal alignment and posture. Sitting intermittently helps prevent excessive strain on the legs and feet, reducing the risk of fatigue and discomfort associated with prolonged standing.

The final component of the 20-8-2 rule involves dedicating 2 minutes to movement or stretching activities. This brief interlude provides an opportunity to incorporate dynamic movement into the workday, promoting flexibility, joint mobility, and muscle relaxation. Simple stretching exercises, such as neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, or leg stretches, can help alleviate tension and improve overall comfort.

 

Standing desk with a mahogany desk top and black steel legs

 

Do Standing Desks Burn Calories?

Standing desks do indeed have the potential to increase calorie expenditure compared to traditional sitting desks. While the difference in calorie burn between standing and sitting may not be significant, standing does require more energy expenditure than remaining sedentary.

Research indicates that standing burns approximately 30 more calories an hour than sitting. Over the course of a typical workday, this small increase in calorie expenditure can add up, resulting in a slightly higher total calorie burn. However, it’s essential to note that standing alone is unlikely to lead to substantial weight loss or significant changes in body composition.

 

Standing desk with mounted monitors

 

What Are the Cons of a Standing Desk?

While standing desks offer numerous benefits, they also have potential drawbacks. Standing for extended periods can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and foot problems if not used correctly.

Additionally, some individuals may experience back or leg pain if their posture is not properly aligned. It’s essential to use ergonomic accessories, such as anti-fatigue mats and adjustable monitor stands, and to maintain good posture while using a standing desk.

 

Relieve pressure form standing with standing desk mats designed to improve blood flow and prevent aches and pains.

 

Is Standing at a Standing Desk All Day Bad for You?

Yes, standing all day without breaks can have adverse effects on your health. Prolonged standing may increase the risk of varicose veins, joint pain, and circulation problems. It’s crucial to alternate between sitting and standing, take regular breaks, and incorporate movement into your routine to mitigate these risks.

 

Glass White Standing Desk

 

How Can I Turn My Desk Into a Standing Desk?

Converting a traditional sitting desk into a standing desk is a practical and cost-effective way to incorporate standing into your work routine. Fortunately, there are several options available, ranging from adjustable desk converters to simple do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions. Here are some popular methods for converting your desk:

1. Adjustable Desk Converters:

Adjustable desk converters are standalone units that sit on top of your existing desk and can be raised or lowered to accommodate both sitting and standing positions. These converters typically feature a spacious work surface for your computer and other essentials, as well as adjustable height settings to customise the desk to your preferred standing height.

 

Converting an ordinary desk to a standing desk with a standing desk converter

2. Stackable Risers:

Stackable risers are another convenient option for converting a sitting desk into a standing desk. These risers consist of sturdy platforms or blocks that can be stacked on top of your desk to elevate your workstation to a comfortable standing height. Many stackable risers are adjustable, allowing you to customise the height to suit your needs.

3. DIY Solutions:

If you’re on a tight budget or prefer a more customised approach, DIY solutions offer a creative alternative. You can use items such as books, boxes, or sturdy crates to elevate your monitor, keyboard, and mouse to a standing height. While DIY solutions may require some experimentation to achieve the optimal height and stability, they can be an affordable and flexible option for converting your desk.

Regardless of the method you choose, it’s essential to ensure that your setup is stable, ergonomic, and allows for easy transition between sitting and standing positions. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Stability: Ensure that your standing desk setup is stable and secure to prevent wobbling or tipping. Use sturdy materials and consider adding anti-slip pads or adhesive strips to keep your equipment in place.

 

  • Ergonomics: Maintain proper ergonomic alignment by positioning your monitor at eye level, keeping your keyboard and mouse at elbow height, and maintaining a neutral wrist position. Use a footrest or anti-fatigue mat to support your feet and promote comfort while standing.

 

  • Easy Transition: Make it easy to switch between sitting and standing positions by choosing a setup that allows for quick adjustments. Adjustable desk converters with electric height adjustment mechanisms offer seamless transitions at the touch of a button.

 

The Astrid Standing Desk from Koble Designs, a stylish and modern ergonomic desk that combines maple effect wood and classic white to create a contemporary piece of furniture for your home’s aesthetic.

 

 

In Summary,

Standing desks can be a valuable tool for promoting movement and reducing sedentary behaviour in the workplace. While they offer numerous potential health benefits, it’s essential to use them correctly and in conjunction with other healthy habits. By alternating between sitting and standing, taking regular breaks, and maintaining good posture, you can maximise the benefits of standing desks while minimising the risks. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so experiment with different strategies to find what works best for you and your body.

 

Shop Standing Desks

 

 

Read More About Our Series On Standing Desks:

What height should my standing desk be?

Standing Desks: Do They Live Up To The Hype?

The Hidden Benefits of a Height Adjustable Desk

Health Benefits Of A Height Adjustable Desk

5 Health Benefits of Using a Standing Desk

The Impact of Ergonomic Desks on Your Body

Embracing the Health Advantages of Height Adjustable Desks

How A Height Adjustable Desk Can Help Your Team Be More Productive

Exploring the Benefits of MFC Standing Desks

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