44 Benefits of Standing Desk (Why Stand at Work) - The Complete List

You probably already know that sitting too much is super harmful and seriously degrades the quality of our lives.  Using a stand up desk at work provides many benefits (44 reasons at last count)…

But what the heck are the health benefits of standing at work?  

Well today you’re in luck because we’ve put together a complete list of all 44 standing desk health benefits.

Some sit/stand benefits are scientifically proven.

Some standing up benefits are anecdotal,and some are controversial.

But they’re all here

Once you learn the 44 standing desk health benefits, you will wish someone told you years ago. So let’s dive in and reveal the hidden benefits of standing at work:

+ Pain Reduction Standing Desk Benefits

  1. Reduces Lower Back Pain – People with back or leg problems simply cannot endure the stress that prolonged sitting at a desk creates. A 2011 CDC study confirmed what many standers already know: standing desk users reduced back pain by 54%.  Even a one hour standing break per day will relieve the stress on your spine caused by sitting all day.    (Tip:  If pain relief is your main motivation for standing up, be sure to choose a sit/stand desk, which allows you to easily switch between sitting and standing, so you can find the position that works best and control your work space.) 
  2. Prevents Neck Strain – Long sitting sessions often result in craning your neck toward your monitor as your spine forms the harmful “C” shape. Standing up at work tends to elongate your spine and restores the healthy “S” shape to your spine, according to Cedars Saini.  Using a laptop stand instead of sitting down puts your neck in a natural, un-strained posture.  (we always recommend a Sit-Stand Monitor Arm to keep your monitor in a natural ergonomic position so you won't need to strain your neck to see it.)
    Stand for Healthy Spine
  3. Reduces Disc Damage - Sitting in the “C” position compresses your spinal discs unevenly, dumping your upper body weight on your tailbone. Disc collagen hardens around ligaments and tendons. Eventually sitters put themselves at greater risk for herniated lumbar disks, according to WebMD. Using a stand-up desk promotes even weight distribution along the “S” arch of your spine. Even the small spine motions involved in standing draws fresh blood and nutrients to the soft tissue between vertebrae, keeping your discs healthy.
  4. Reduces Shoulder Pain – Similarly, sitting with poor posture hunches our shoulders, causing pain. Standing at work at an ergonomic desk naturally brings your shoulders back to a balanced position.  
  5. Avoids Leg Pain – Most office chairs will hurt your legs. The throbbing you feel on the back of your thighs is caused by your veins and arteries being pinched like a garden hose. Using a standing height desk at work lets blood flow freely all the way to your toes.  Motion is a super simple way to eliminate leg pain. 
  6. Decreases Headaches – By reducing strain, people who use a stand up computer desk report less frequent and less intense headaches. Further study is needed to determine exactly why, but when your body is in a better posture and neck and shoulder strain are reduced, a reduction in headache pain is anticipated.
  7. + Performance Benefits of Ergonomic Desk

  8. Increases Energy - The first change that new standers notice is that instead of tiring you out, standing gives you an energy boost equal to a tall coffee, without the crash.   If you use a tall desk, your blood flow freely and delivers more oxygen to your muscles, so you feel better, longer.  This new burst of energy is the first critical step of the virtuous cycle, because more energy leads you to many of the following benefits.   

  9. Increases Productivity - Standers get more done. If you use a standing desk, you increase blood flow and your energy level increases. A Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health study confirmed that standing up will increase productivity up to 46%. This landmark study also suggests and you will become MORE productive after using your sit-stand desk for 60 days. (likely you will find additional ways to increase your productivity as you adjust to the new workspace.) So if you find yourself falling behind and never seem to catch up, try standing and get sh@! done.

  10. Increases Lung Capacity – Sitting in the slouched “C” position compresses your rib cage and decreases your lung capacity.  Using a Stand Up Desk elongates your lungs.  More lung capacity means more oxygen, leading to better physical and mental function.  Low energy is the #1 factor people cite for low productivity.  Imagine your next performance review when you have completed all projects on time.   Your boss will notice your increased output. (Source:  National Institutes of Health, 2006)

  11. + Health Benefits of Standing Desk

  12. Improves Circulation – Circulation is truly “health benefit zero” because better circulation leads directly to so many other benefits.  Nearly every one of these 44 benefits depends on improved circulation.  When you stand up at your ergonomic desk, even part time, your blood flows better and you can avoid the myriad of problems that plague people who sit all day.   

  13. Reduces Cardiovascular Disease – Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to a myriad of cardiovascular problems.  Prolonged sitting has been linked to high blood pressure, increased plaque and elevated levels of “bad” cholesterol.  Dr. LaCroix reported that people with the most sedentary time are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who are active at the office.

  14. Reduces Heart attack Risk - According to Dr. James Levine, sitting for extended periods of time leads to approximately 125% more risk of chest pain or a heart attack. Why risk cardiovascular disease if risk can be reduced by merely standing a few hours a day?

  15. Reduces Diabetes Risk – Exercise and movement are key elements in fighting diabetes.  Insulin’s ability to process sugars can drop dramatically after one day of sitting, and the risk of Type II diabetes increases. One researcher found that insulin effectiveness dropped by 40% . . . in only 24 hours! Your body essentially goes to sleep when it is inactive for long periods of time, like while sitting. Your metabolism slows down, and all of this can contribute to risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

  16. Reduces Cancer Risk – Studies have linked sitting to a greater risk for colon, breast and endometrial cancers. The reason is unclear, but one theory is that excess insulin encourages cell growth. Another is that regular movement boosts natural antioxidants that kill cell-damaging— and potentially cancer-causing — free radicals.  The American Cancer Society warns that sitting for over 6 hours a day rapidly increases the risk of cancer for both men and women.

  17. Reduces Varicose Veins – Studies indicate that excessive sitting or excessive standing can BOTH lead to varicose veins. So the optimal approach is to alternate between sitting and standing at your work-station during the day. A sit-stand desk conversion is the perfect way to start standing at work without having to commit to an expensive new desk.

  18. Lowers Cholesterol – The European Heart Journal argues that standing instead of sitting can lead to lower cholesterol and increased heart health. Anything that prevents our bodies from prematurely going into “shut down” mode while sitting leads to healthier lives. Simply stand for two hours when you would normally sit and experience better cholesterol levels.

  19. Peripheral Neuropathy - Peripheral Neuropathy is a catchall term to refer to any malfunction of your nervous system outside of your brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can include muscle pain and spasms, tingling, irregular heart patterns, touch sensitivity, and loss of sensitivity in your extremities. Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy include changes in insulin effectiveness, restriction or entrapment of nerves, and poor blood flow around your spine. Sound familiar? In fact, sitting contributes all of these problems, increasing your risk for Peripheral Neuropathy.  Using a desk riser will relieve leg pressure and improve blood flow.

  20. Liver - Studies have shown that a decrease in time spent sitting can lower the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Getting your body moving keeps its various systems from slowing down. Standing up every 20 minutes or so can help keep your body's heart and liver functioning as they should.

  21. Kidney - The American Journal of Kidney Disease concluded in a 2012 study that lower time of sitting lead to lower chances of chronic kidney disease. Further, minimum levels of exercise also help decrease the risk of kidney problems. This is just another way that standing for part of the time you spend sitting can help prevent health problems down the road.

  22. Urinary problems - Prostatitis, otherwise known as “trucker’s disease”, often manifests itself during long periods of prolonged sitting. Researchers are concluding that reducing long sessions of sitting can reduce the risk of different kinds of cancer, including prostate cancer. Really, anything that keeps your body in motion rather than stuck in a static position can only lead to positive benefits down the road.

  23. Reduces Swollen ankles - One of the problems with sitting down for long periods of time is it slows blood circulation. This means that your blood isn’t moving throughout your body as effectively as it should and can become trapped, especially in your legs. A number of scientists concluded that poor circulation can lead to problems like swollen ankles or varicose veins in your legs. Standing up and shaking out your legs can help boost circulation and prevent leg problems.

  24. Stronger Bones: Walking, running, and engaging in other weight-bearing activities lead to stronger, denser bones. Lack of activity may cause weak bones and even osteoporosis.

  25. Better Digestion: When you sit, your body compresses the digestive system which slows down its ability to absorb and process your meals. This usually translates into heartburn, cramps, bloating, and other digestive issues. According to Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, this can also lead to “Intestinal disorders include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and celiac disease, while extra-intestinal disorders include allergy, asthma, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and obesity."

  26. Delays Muscle Degeneration - When you sit, your body essentially goes into hibernation. Too much time spent in a sitting position causes your muscles to shorten (especially psoas and hip flexors) and others go dormant (abdominals, glutes, and shoulders). An easy way to counteract the breakdown of your body’s musculature is to stand and stretch every 20 minutes or so. Using a stand up desk does not seem like it activates muscles, but you do benefit from micro-movements while standing.

  27. Prevents Over-productive Pancreas - The hormone responsible for turning glucose into energy is insulin, which is produced by your pancreas. When your body slows down while sleeping or sitting, the muscles don’t react to insulin as easily so the pancreas has to overproduce the hormone. This overproduction of insulin leads type II Diabetes and other blood sugar diseases.

  28. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels - Usually, you want your blood sugar levels to stay as low as possible after eating. Low blood sugar levels becomes more critical for those with insulin related diseases such as type 2 diabetes. When you sit, your body produces an abundance of insulin (see above) which can lead to resistance. By standing after meals, the body can more effectively process glucose without as much insulin, leading to better blood sugar levels. For the greatest benefit, stand at your ergonomic desk for at least 3 hours after meals (adding necessary sitting breaks or stretching), but workers also saw a benefit from alternating sitting and standing throughout the day.

  29. Less Hemorrhoids - True, sitting too much will result in increased chance of developing hemorrhoids.  Another great reason to stand at your workplace and get up off your office chair.
  30. + Brain and Mental Benefits of Standing Up

  31. More Efficient Brain Function - Better circulation means more oxygen to your brain, so you will stay sharp and able to focus on tasks longer.  A critical benefit of standing vs. sitting is that oxygen will feed your creativity and help you avoid mental fatigue and reach your true potential.  Imagine how your future will be different when your brain is working at peak efficiency.  We have all had days where everything clicked and we seemed like a fountain of creativity.  How would your life be better if you had more days like this?

  32. Increased brain activity – Increased circulation mean more blood to brain, which means more efficient brain function.  When we are sedentary for a long time, everything slows, including brain function.  Why do you think they call it "thinking on your feet?"  Instead of slouching in a chair, a laptop stand is a much better choice to spark brain function.

  33. More focus - By standing up, you can engage your entire body, including your mind.  With the increased energy from standing up, you can concentrate longer on each task. No more afternoon crash! Keep your mind and heart engaged by standing at your desk rather than sitting.

  34. More creativity - Offices are quickly finding that dumping chairs leads to greater creativity during brainstorming sessions and team meetings. If a simple change in your lifestyle led to massive benefits in resourcefulness and ingenuity, would you make it? The small change of standing up creates more blood flow to the brain which lets your core processor function at peak capacity. Get in touch with your artistic side and try using a standup desk!

  35.  ADD and ADHD - Educators understand that there is a huge connection between sitting still and short attention spans. ADD and ADHD lead to hyperactivity that is impossible to resist while. One great standing desk benefit for students (especially with a fidget bar!) is that young people are allowed to expend excess energy which leads to increased concentration.

  36. + Longevity Benefits of Laptop Stand

  37. Standers Live Longer - Ok, if you stuck with me this far, you might not think its such a stretch to claim standing will actually lengthen your life.  Well, a 2010 study by the American Cancer Society found that women who sat more than six hours a day were 37% more likely to die prematurely than women who sat for less than three hours, while the early-death rate for men was 18% higher.  Another study found that people watching 4 hours of TV a day had a 61 percent greater risk of dying than those who watched less than 1 hour.  So while individual results always vary, statistically speaking, stand up desk users live longer than sitters. 

  38. Delays the Aging Process -  A sedentary lifestyle results in shorter “telomeres” (which are the ends of our dna strands that shorten each time a cell divides.  See how much you are learning?)  Once the telomeres become too short, the cell cannot divide.  According to the National Institutes of Health, Dr Katzmarzyk concluded “standing may be a healthier alternative to excessive periods of sitting”

  39. Sedentary Death Syndrome – SDS is a relatively new theory coined by Dr. Frank Booth and is similar to “sitting disease.”  The conclusion is that the human body was designed to be active.  When you become sedentary, you put yourself at risk to dozens of serious diseases, like heart disease and type II diabetes.  Dr. Booth is hoping to raise funds because further study is greatly needed.  In the meantime, one important reason to stand at work is the increase in life longevity you can expect.

  40. + Fitness Benefits of Standing at Work

  41. Standers Lose Weight – New standers report losing between 8 and 15 pounds in the first 90 days. Since they are not agonizing through long workouts, how is this possible?  Well… our bodies have an enzyme called LPL, whose only job is to remove fat from our blood.  But LPL goes dormant when we sit down, so it can’t remove the fat, which instead gets stored.  The good news is that simply standing up at work will re-activate your dormant LPL so it can get back to removing fat.

  42. Strengthen Your Core - Standing gives your core muscles a workout without you even knowing it. (Especially if you make a conscious effort to move and twist while standing.) Use a stand up desk conversion to engage your abdominal muscles without you having to think about it.  But when seated, your abs take a break (and worse yet, start to sag!)  If you don’t like doing crunches, why not work out the easy way?

  43. Burn More Calories - Since standing up to work does not look much more strenuous than sitting, is there really any benefit?  Is there a difference in standing vs. sitting calories burned?  You might be surprised!  According to Dr. John Buckley of the Dept. of Clinical Science and Nutrition, standing will burn 50% more calories than sitting.  That means you will burn 50 more calories per hour, (200 each day, 40,000 each year, if you stand just 4 hours)  40,000 calories means 8 less pounds!

  44. Validate your Workout – Think because you work-out you have earned the right to sit all day?  No amount of exercise will counteract the harm done by spending half your waking hours idle in a chair.  Mayo Clinic co-director Dr. James Levine says “..going to the gym…does not  relinquish you from the responsibility of being active throughout the day.”

  45. More Flexible hips - Sitting too much tightens your hips as your flexor muscles become short and tight, limiting your hip motion and stride length.  Your future self will thank you because decreased hip mobility is a main reason older folks take a fall.

  46. Firmer Glutes – While opinions vary on optimal posterior size, everyone agrees that firmer glutes are better.  When you stand-to-work, you engage your glutes and naturally tighten them during the day.  Sitting asks nothing of your glutes so they get soft and flabby.   Firming large muscle groups like your glutes will help increase your endurance and power.

  47. Increases your Flexibility – You can consider standing at your desk and extension of your  yoga routine.  Excessive sitting decreases the range of motion for all your muscle groups, including abs, glutes, quads, and psoas.  Standing will improve your flexibility.

  48. + Emotional Benefits from Standing Up

  49. Feel More Powerful – Standing tall makes you feel more powerful and confident.  A Columbia and Harvard University Study confirmed that standers not only felt more powerful and in control, but were 45% more confident in their decisions.  

  50. Improve your Mood – Standing-to-work will release endorphins, giving you a natural high.  While you may not get the same endorphin-rush as you would from running 10k, standing up does provide a gentle stream of “feel-good” endorphins.  So if you need a change in attitude, simply change your altitude.

    Bonus Reasons to Stand at Work (we just could not stop at 44!)

  51. Standing Lowers Stress – It is much more difficult to be tense or fearful when you are standing in a “power position.”  Especially when you incorporate deep breathing, you will notice a calming effect that lowers stress and makes it more difficult to be afraid.  Sit-stand desk users will be calmer and less stressed out.

  52. Higher Self-Esteem – Now that you know the cascade of evidence supporting standing at work, you will naturally feel better about yourself when you stand up.  Knowing that you are “doing the right thing” will help you do your best work and become a better version of yourself.

+ Conclusion

Whew!

That is a long list.  Are you standing up at your computer yet?

If not, at least hopefully we have opened your mind to the possibility of changing your work space.  The first step is to open your mind to the standing desk health benefits. Everyone will change on their own timetable.  So when you are ready, be sure to read our special report, How to Choose the Right Stand Up Desk 

Special thanks to standing advocates like Dr. James Levine, Dr Joseph Mercola, and Dr. Joan Verkinos whose pioneering investigations have opened the world’s eyes to the dangers of “sitting disease.”  Without their tireless evangelism, we would still be unaware of the dangers posed by our office chairs.

Too busy to read all 44 benefits?  We condensed the top 10:

top 10


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