Comparing the Sitting and Standing Desk

Lots of people are talking about switching from a sitting desk to a standing one.  So lets take a look at the pros and cons on each side.


The easiest and most immediate “pro” to the sitting desk is that this is what we are used to.  If you continue to use a sitting desk you won’t have to change anything and that is a very comfortable place to be. Now, it is just easy to argue that all these years of standardized chair use has also provided just as much evidence about how chairs can be bad (which we will look at next) but if you are using an ergonomic chair (one that maximizes support of the spine and hips, etc) they are comfortable and encourages proper circulation. Still, it is a good idea to get up and move around every hour or so, just to be certain.


That said, prolonged sitting definitely puts you at risk for chronic disease.  In just one hour of consistent sitting, for example, the fat-burning lipoprotein Lipease decreases in the body by as much as 90 percent. Sitting require less energy than standing, so your heart rate is slower and your metabolism is lower, etc.

Also, if you are not using an ergonomic chair, your posture is probably terrible when you sit.  And in way is this more detrimental than when you crane your neck to look at the screen.


Stand up desks at, on the other hand, certainly correct those posture problems.  Standing improves circulation and metabolism and that means you have a lower risk of those chronic diseases mentioned above. After just 3 hours of standing at a desk, your heart rate improves by at least 10 beats per minute, which equates to about an additional 50 calories burned per week.  All of this also increases energy and alertness, too.


Of course, when you go from sitting to standing all day the first thing you might notice is how tired or sore your feet and legs are.  This is normal for any type of new physical activity. The good news is that over time you will develop more endurance. If you are a little overweight, too, standing can put more pressure on your knees and ankles. The good news about that, though, is you can switch between sitting and standing until, maybe, you reach a healthier weight.

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