How effective at improving flexibility/posture/fitness/general health is using a standing desk instead of a sitting desk?

  • 3
    Not worthy of an answer, but I'd like to make one small personal observation. I have a desk at work that can be raised and lowered, and noticed that the times I spent about half a day standing up, and happened to have a workout with squats that evening, the squats felt a lot harder and made my lower back more sore. So I figure standing up for a prolonged time at your desk definitely has a noticeable impact.
    – G_H
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 18:56

5 Answers 5


At a first glimpse the standing desks seem like another "improvement" companies throw to an item to make customers upgrade and re-buy the same thing. Essentially it's just a desk, right? That's what I thought until I started my current job which provided me with a standing desk.

My job is sedentary and very static. I experimented and on some days remained sitting without raising the desk for the whole day. As a result my lower back would start hurting a little(old injury) and my legs would start feeling bloated. I would have to go for a long walk afterwards to get rid of this uncomfortable sensations.

Currently I spend the first hour at work standing, having my desk raised. Then I sit down and switch every hour or so. I would work standing until I get tired. I cannot really say that it gets my blood going but it provides me with a chance to change my posture to something more natural than sitting.

If you do a quick research you will find out that a lot of the back problems are developed by office jobs. By sitting on a chair for hours. Like for example - Discopathy, Disc Hernia and so on and so forth. Standing tall, straightens your back and allows you to avoid this.

I am personally about to buy a standing desk for home too. It's a game changer for me.

  • This is more like your personal narrative about your own experiences, not really an answer to the question.
    – Eric
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 5:51
  • And how is that not an answer to a question? Do I need to conduct a scientific study to share whether or not a product has worked for me?
    – Arthlete
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 6:51

A recent meta-analysis of 23 published studies is MacEwen, MacDonald, and Burr, "A systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace," Preventative Medicine 70(January 2015):50-58.

The article is here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.11.011

Quoting from the paper's summary:

Treadmill desks led to the greatest improvement in physiological outcomes including postprandial glucose, HDL cholesterol, and anthropometrics, while standing desk use was associated with few physiological changes. Standing and treadmill desks both showed mixed results for improving psychological well-being with little impact on work performance.

  • 2
    Can you establish if there was no bias by the author's at all? Great answer!
    – John
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 18:33
  • It's difficult to definitively prove the absence of anything (including bias) -- but for what it's worth, in the published article the authors state that they have no conflicts of interest nor sources of funding to declare.
    – intj440
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 18:39
  • That's all I really needed.
    – John
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 18:42

According to Dr. Jos Verbeek of The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, "What we actually found is that most of it is, very much, just fashionable and not proven good for your health."


Anecdotal, I've been using a standing desk for about a year. I write software so it used to be ~8hrs sitting. Now I'm always standing.

Dont notice a difference tbh. Some days my legs and lower back are sore if I happened to walk to work that day. If anything, now when I sit for a long time my lower back feels some soreness on getting up.


Being immobile in one position (whether sitting or standing) for long periods of time is just not good for you.

Sit too long and you get all those posture problems and what not.

Stand too long and blood pools to your calves.

The natural state of man is to go between periods of rest and motion. Either you are laying around loafing or MOVING (walking, running, building).

It is NOT the natural state of man to be immobile in one position for 4-8hrs at a time.

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