My Switch To A Standing Desk, or "Sitting considered harmful"


In mid-October I decided to make the switch to a standing desk, after reading several [articles][#sources] on the health benefits of standing and the risks and drawbacks of prolonged periods of sitting.


My current cube setup, with main table section raised to standing height and secondary at sitting height

Disadvantages of sitting

  • Encourages poor posture
  • Weakens lower back muscles
  • Changes hormone/enzyme production, leading to increased risk of diabetes and other health problems

Benefits of standing

  • More calories burned
  • Encourages additional movement
  • Avoid all the above negatives

I've had bad posture as long as I can remember, from a lifetime of sitting at school, sitting at work, sitting in the car, sitting at home playing video games, etc... I won't say that standing has fixed my posture, but I am noticing improvements. I've also found that when I visit my chiropractor, the adjustments last longer before needing to be redone. I can't expect to fix 2-3 decades of bad posture with a bit of standing, but it's helping.


There are several ways you could begin, varying in cost and convenience. Basically any thing you can do to safely and stably raise your keyboard, mouse, and monitor to a standing height should be fine.

  • Raise your monitor/keyboard/mouse
  • Boxes, phone books, cans, monitor risers, adjustable shelves
  • Raise your entire desk
  • For an actual desk, you can put things underneath to raise the entire work surface
  • For a cube, the main desk/table platforms are often adjustable
  • Adjustable/standing desks
  • Both varieties are commercially available, but are often pricey

What I did

My original strategy was to just stack my laptop up on some soup cans. It was far from ideal but it was easy to set up and take down and used things I already owned. After some early success with the soup can method I decided to go slightly more permanent and use some old monitor boxes and a USB keyboard and mouse.

Two weeks worth of that convinced me that I was willing to stick with this for the long haul, so I raised the main table platform in my cube. That was in October 2010, and I haven't looked back.

Height matters

Make sure that when you do raise your setup that you raise it to the correct height. My initial heights were too low and caused wrist stress and continued slouching. I've since used a free online ergonomics calculator and I've been happy with the results.


Initially, my feet hurt. A lot. This lessened over time, but has never really gone away. Getting a standing mat and replacing my old shoes helped. I really began to appreciate time spent sitting as well, but I also noticed increased energy and focus throughout the day.


The medical studies are referenced in these articles. I don't claim to have the medical background to give them serious treatment here.

Tags: health, standing desk