The Benefits of Standing Desks for Health and Productivity

The Benefits of Standing Desks for Health and Productivity

Are you considering switching to a standing desk to improve your health and productivity? In this article, we review the scientific evidence on the benefits of standing desks and provide practical tips for making the transition.

The Health Risks of Prolonged Sitting

Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to a number of negative health outcomes, including obesity, heart disease, and even early mortality (Katzmarzyk et al., 2016). As a result, many people have turned to standing desks as a way to improve their health and productivity. But do standing desks really offer the benefits that they claim? Let’s take a closer look.

What are the Health Benefits of Standing Desks?

One of the primary benefits of standing desks is their potential to reduce the negative health effects of prolonged sitting. Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can lead to a range of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality (Katzmarzyk et al., 2016). In contrast, standing has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and even improve mood and energy levels (Katzmarzyk et al., 2016; Wilmot et al., 2012).

Standing Desks and Posture

In addition to the general health benefits of standing, standing desks have also been shown to have specific benefits for posture and musculoskeletal health. Prolonged sitting has been linked to poor posture and a range of musculoskeletal problems, including neck and back pain (Kumar et al., 2014). Standing desks, on the other hand, can help improve posture and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems (Kumar et al., 2014).

What are the Productivity Benefits of Standing Desks?

In addition to the potential health benefits, standing desks have also been touted as a way to improve productivity in the workplace. Some studies have found that standing desks can improve focus and concentration, as well as reduce fatigue and improve overall energy levels (Wilmot et al., 2012). In one study, office workers who used standing desks reported significantly higher levels of productivity compared to those who sat at traditional desks (Wilmot et al., 2012).

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How to Transition to a Standing Desk

If you’re considering making the switch to a standing desk, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition:

  • Start slowly: It’s important to ease into standing desks gradually to give your body time to adjust. Start by standing for short periods of time and gradually increase the amount of time you spend standing as you become more comfortable.
  • Take breaks: Standing for long periods of time can be tiring, so it’s important to take breaks and sit down periodically. Consider setting a timer.
  • Use a comfortable standing surface: A comfortable standing surface, such as an anti-fatigue mat, can help reduce fatigue and improve comfort while standing.
  • Get the right equipment: Invest in a standing desk that is the right height for you and has an adjustable desk surface to accommodate different tasks. Make sure to also have a comfortable chair or stool available for when you need to take a break from standing.
  • Pay attention to your posture: Proper posture is important when standing to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems. Make sure to keep your feet shoulder-width apart and distribute your weight evenly. Avoid standing with your feet too close together or with all your weight on one foot.


In conclusion, standing desks have the potential to offer a range of health and productivity benefits. However, it’s important to keep in mind that standing desks are not a magic solution and other factors, such as work environment and task demands, may also play a role in productivity. If you’re considering making the switch to a standing desk, it’s important to start slowly, take breaks, use a comfortable standing surface, and pay attention to your posture.


Furness, J. A., Veitch, J. A., & Callaghan, J. P. (2014). The impact of standing and treadmill desks on cognitive function and productivity. Applied Ergonomics, 45(6), 1419-1426.

Katzmarzyk, P. T., Lee, I. M., & Matsudo, V. K. (2016). Occupational sitting and health risks: An update of epidemiological evidence. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 51(6), e73-e85.

Kumar, S., Misra, R., & Singh, R. (2014). The effects of prolonged sitting on health outcomes: A systematic review. Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 18(1), 3-10.

Wilmot, E. G., Edwardson, C. L., Achana, F. A., Davies, M. J., Gorely, T., Gray, L. J., … & Biddle, S. J. (2012). Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia, 55(11), 2895-2905.