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Standing Desk vs Sitting Office Desk: Which One is Better?

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Jan 11, 2021
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Standing desks are all the rage these days, and this trend has led to a considerable debate around their benefits. Many of us are used to spending most of our lives sitting down, so it seems almost revolutionary to work standing up. Much of the standing desk vs office desk question revolves around the health benefits of standing desks.

Are standing desks otherwise better than sitting desks? This is partially a question of preference. However, many people find that they work more productively when standing and over time find that it becomes even more comfortable than working at a sitting office desk. 

This article discusses the benefits of standing desks and sitting desks as well as their weaknesses. In addition, it explains why you might benefit from working at a standing desk and what you should look for in a new standing desk, as well as how you can adjust to a new standing desk if you aren’t used to working standing up. 

What is a Standing Desk?

A standing desk is, like the name suggests, a desk that you can use while you stand up. Some electric standing desks can be adjusted so that you can switch between sitting and standing, while others come at a fixed height. Some standing desks operate as extensions that you simply place on top of an existing desk, while others are standalone units. 

Generally speaking, you can adjust standing desks to be at the perfect height for you. If you don’t feel completely comfortable using them, you can experiment with the height and angle, as well as trying modifications or purchasing accessories to make your experience of using a standing desk more comfortable. For example, you can purchase cushions to sit under your wrists and relieve some of the pressure that standing and working can result in. 

What is a Standing Desk?

Why Should You Choose a Standing Desk? 

There are plenty of reasons you might choose a standing desk over a sitting desk. Essentially, apart from being potentially more comfortable for some than standing desks, sitting desks have no real advantages over standing desks. Much of the standing desk vs sitting desk issue revolves around the health consequences of sitting too long, for example.

It has been scientifically proven that sitting too much is dangerous for your health. If you spend too much time sitting per day, you expose yourself to a much greater risk of a number of lifestyle illnesses. Sitting for long periods is a risk factor for conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and preventing these is much easier than treating them. 

Another advantage of using a standing desk is that it encourages you to work with much better posture. Maintaining proper posture is crucial in preventing chronic pain and stress on your body if you spend long stretches working behind your computer or at your desk. It is much more natural to do so when standing up.

Many users of standing desks find that their back pain is greatly reduced or even eliminated altogether. This is due to a range of factors, with one of them being that standing desks force your back and stomach muscles to work constantly. Over time, this strengthens them and allows them to support your body instead of overcompensating and using the wrong muscles.

Why Should You Choose a Standing Desk?

Research has demonstrated that standing desks seriously boost productivity when compared to traditional desks. This is a key part of the standing desk vs office desk issue. Many employees find that they work faster at standing desks and are able to perform tasks more effectively and accurately. Given how easy it is to adjust to working at a standing desk, this is seriously impressive. 

Finally, standing desks may be a great way to lose weight while you work. This is because you can burn far more calories at a standing desk than you would sitting down throughout the day. If you’re interested in losing weight, you can use a standing desk to passively burn more calories while you work. 

Standing Desks and Sitting Desks: Advantages and Disadvantages

It’s important not to think about the benefit of standing desks. When considering whether to purchase a sitting or standing desk, it can be helpful to compare the two kinds of desks and weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of both kinds. 

Pros and Cons of Standing Desks

Pros of Standing Desks

One pro of standing desks is that they can be adjusted. You can generally adjust the height of a standing desk so that it is at the perfect height for you. There are few sitting desks that can be adjusted without considerable difficulty if they can be adjusted at all. This is an important part of the standing desk vs sitting desk debate. 

Another pro of standing desks is that they are better for your health. Even if you have a sedentary job, you can seriously reduce the impact of your lifestyle on your overall health by spending as much of the workday standing as possible. It doesn’t take much more effort than working sitting down, and the health benefits can be considerable.

Finally, a great pro of standing desks is that they are more ergonomic and encourage you to use a far better posture than a sitting desk. It’s much harder to get away with having poor or unhealthy posture when you stand up all day. Having good posture is one of the best ways to prevent developing chronic pain or placing too much strain on your body. 

Advantages of Standing Desk

Cons of Standing Desks

A potential con of standing desks is that they can take some adjusting to. If you aren’t physically used to standing up for long periods, you may need to ease into working standing up by shifting between standing and sitting until your body is used to the change. To some, this might feel like too much effort or too dramatic of an adjustment. 

Another con of standing desks is that they aren’t as common or accessible as conventional desks. It can be harder to find a good standing desk, and you have fewer options in terms of accessories and repairs. If convenience and accessibility is a real priority of yours, then you might not feel like standing desks are such a practical choice.

Cons of Standing Desk

Pros and Cons of Sitting Desks 

Pros of Sitting Desks

When making an overall standing desk vs office desk comparison, it’s clear to see that standing desks have far more benefits on the whole. However, sitting desks may have some benefits in some instances. One could be in the case of injury. If you’ve hurt your back outside of the office, it might be difficult for you to work at a standing desk. A sitting desk could be much more appropriate for you in this instance.

Also, some people find sitting to be more comfortable than standing, especially for longer periods. If you aren’t used to standing up throughout the day, you’re much more likely to prefer a sitting desk. Using a standing desk might also be challenging if you’re overweight, as this can put considerable strain on your body while you stand. 

Sitting desks are generally affordable and accessible. It is usually much easier to find a sitting desk than it is a standing desk, and the same goes for replacement parts and accessories. You are also likely to find that you have a greater variety of choices in terms of color and design for conventional sitting desks. 

A crucial part of the standing vs. sitting at work debate that is often overlooked is that standing up at work isn’t healthy for everybody. In fact, for some members of the population, sitting is a better choice. This applies to people suffering from certain forms of circulatory illness, like heart disease or abnormal blood pressure.

Advantages of Sitting Desk

Cons of Sitting Desks

As discussed above, the benefits of standing desks generally outweigh the benefits of sitting desks. For one thing, sitting for too long isn’t healthy for the vast majority of people. As such, if you have a desk job, working at a sitting desk could potentially be seen as an unhealthy decision, especially when it results in you sitting all day. 

Another con of sitting desks is that they are often difficult to adjust or personalize. An important part of maintaining good posture is having the possibility to tailor your workspace so that it suits you and your body. This can be very challenging with a sitting desk as they generally can’t be adjusted at all. 

Cons of Sitting Desk

How to Use a Standing Desk Correctly 

If you’re considering purchasing a standing desk, you should make sure you understand how to get the most out of it before you get started. Some people find working at a standing desk uncomfortable, to begin with, and end up giving up too soon. Putting in the time to make your standing desk work for you is absolutely worth it at the end of the day. 

There are plenty of benefits of standing desks, and you should notice at least some of these right away once you purchase a standing desk. If you’re unsure of how to make the most of your standing desk, there are a handful of ways to transform your experience to make it as comfortable and productive as possible. 

If you don’t feel comfortable working at your standing desk, you might seriously benefit from trying some accessories to make a standing desk even more ergonomic or comfortable. These could include a mat to stand on to take some pressure off your feet and legs or a pillow for your wrists.

How to Use a Standing Desk Correctly

Sit-stand Session

When people find working at a standing desk uncomfortable, it is generally because their body isn’t accustomed to using their core muscles for extended periods. As such, one of the best ways to do so is arranging to alternate between sitting and standing until your body is totally acclimatized to working standing up. This is the perfect way for your muscles to adjust to new patterns of use. 

You can design your sit-stand sessions based on how used to using a standing desk you are and how easy or comfortable it feels to you. There are many different ways you can incorporate a sit-stand session into your workday. You could split up half the day with standing and sitting or alternate between positions every hour. 

Ultimately, the ideal choice for many people considering sitting vs. standing at work is alternating between sitting and standing. If you work at an office job, standing up for the entire day is not as beneficial as it is to work a truly active job. It can eventually become taxing for the muscles, especially if you stand in the same place behind your desk all day. 

As such, utilizing a sit-stand session as part of your workday is the easiest way to get the most out of a standing desk vs. an office desk. When you work at an office, you generally have an idea of your schedule in advance. As such, you could plan your standing time around when you don’t have anything else to do.

For example, if you know you have a meeting later in the day, you can schedule your standing time for the morning. That way, your body can get used to the standing desk and all of its benefits without your attempt to do so encroaching on your meeting time. Of course, this applies if you don’t want to use a standing desk during your meeting! 

Sit-stand Session

Conclusion

Many people are becoming more aware of the benefits of standing desks, and this is causing them to opt for using a standing desk at the office instead of a traditional sitting desk. How easy is it to use a standing desk, though? Are standing desks for everyone?

Ultimately, unless you have a medical condition that affects your circulation, a standing desk is likely to be a much healthier option for you. You don’t have to forego sitting altogether, though. You can choose to alternate between sitting and standing to get the best of both worlds and make things easier on your body.

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