Standing Desk Benefits and Proper Use

Standing Desk Benefits and Proper Use

Have you heard about standing desks and are wondering what all the hype is about? Maybe you’ve been browsing through Lifehacker, you’ve been barraged with articles about them or just heard that sitting 8 hours a day is killing you. As annoying as those things can be, they’re not wrong. Sitting wreaks havoc on your body and one of the ways that you prevent it is by not sitting so much. However, there’s a right and wrong way to use standing desks, and it could make all the difference in the world. So, let’s dive into standing desk benefits, but first, how do you even use it?

Standing desk benefits

How to use a Standing Desk: the Wrong Way

How to use a Standing Desk
Game on, Amazon!

Imagine, you hear a knock at the door, and so you slowly stand up and open it. There’s a guy (or gal) with a big box and that famous black amazon tape around it. You sign on the dotted line and bring that not-so-light box into your living room. You walk to the kitchen, grab a pair of scissors and delicately slice open the tape on the box. Inside is that thing you’ve been waiting for, the thing that’s supposed to save your life, improve your productivity, reduce your back pain, increase metabolism, etc. It’s your standing desk!

You were one of the smart ones and got one that was already assembled, so you pull it out of your box and carry it (maybe with some help) to your office.

You make space right in front of your chair and, luckily, the cable to your monitor is long enough to reach the top of it. Your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse fit perfectly on the try. You kick your chair out of the way and raise that baby up so it’s at eye level and you start working, checking emails, replying to comments, taking calls.. but after about 2 hours, your back is killing you!

Related: Height Adjustable Standing Desk – What to look for when you buy

Don’t be this guy, do it right.

Standing desk benefits

Your feet hurt, your back is screaming, and you can barely focus on the screen anymore.  Why would people buy a standing desk? This is so uncomfortable! There are ZERO standing desk benefits!

Alright, all anecdotes aside, this is not what standing desks were designed for. Being on your feet for hours on end is just as bad, if not worse than sitting all day. You will burn more calories, but you’ll also be incredibly sore and uncomfortable. Just ask anyone who’s on their feet all day. A nurse is an excellent place to start.

Related: What Are the Benefits of a Standing Desk Mat

 How to use a Standing Desk: the right way

Let’s go through this again.

You get your box, open it up, and after you get your monitor, keyboard, and mouse all set up on your standing desk workstation, you move it to the proper standing height setting and start answering e-mails. After around 25-30 minutes you lower it and start working sitting down. You work that way for the rest of the hour and then when you hit 60 min, you raise it back up to continue working standing. what your chair should say

You repeat this process, every hour, as many times as you want during your workday. That’s How to use a Standing Desk and how you reap the maximum benefits from a standing desk.

A standing desk, as much as the name might imply, is not made to be used standing all day every day. That’s not what they were designed for. Standing desk benefits come from giving you a break from sitting all day, boosting metabolism, keeping your blood flowing all while still being productive at work. This can be and should be done in a matter of 30 minutes.

Research says you should stand about much as you sit every hour. That doesn’t mean an average throughout the day. That means every hour stand at least 30 min.

DO NOT sit for 4 consecutive hours and then stand for 4 straight hours. That’s not good for you either.

Standing desk benefits

How to use a Standing Desk
Standing, reading and looking smart at the same time. This guy for the win

There are many advantages to standing when compared to sitting. When you sit for a prolonged period of time you increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, heart attack, and stroke. Those sound scary because they are scary. You may not notice it now, but if you’re a freelancer who needs a computer to work and you do it seated at a desk for many years, those nasty side effects start to rear their ugly heads after a time.

There’s also new research that shows that extra trips to the gym won’t undo the harmful effects of sitting. Will they help? Of course, they will. Exercise always helps (to a point). But they can’t completely reverse it. The only way to do that is to sit less. Plain and simple, you have to be standing.

Related: What about a stand up desk workstation?

Enter the Standing Desk

With the revelation that the only way to stop the adverse effects of sitting is by standing more, the standing desk was born. It allows you to both sit and stand at your desk, and maintain productivity (maybe even improve it) by cutting your sitting time in half.

How to use a Standing Desk
See how it goes up and down?

If you’re really into standing desks benefits and how to use them, which I hope you are, you should consider getting yourself an electric sit-stand desk. The electric part of that title is the most important part. Switching from standing to sitting up to 16 times with a crank, or a lever will get really old, really fast. Electric sit-stand desks give you the option of setting different heights. This lets you change positions with very little effort.

If you’re interested in exactly what you should look for, take a gander at my article: Stand up Computer Desk – Ultimate Buyers Guide

Make it easy

If you’re like me, when you’re working, you lose all track of time. So, all you need to do is set a timer. There’s a perfect one online at Time and Date. You can even add a couple of timers which can go off consecutively, so you don’t have to worry about setting a new one or resetting the old one. This timer could also be perfect for the Pomodoro Method, but that’s a whole other article.

Make sure if you decide on a standing desk, which I hope you do, that you learn how to use it properly. If you plan on being a freelancer for many years to come, then standing every 30 minutes could quite literally save your life. Take a look at my article How to Help Lower Back Pain – 5 habits to change your life, where I give you a simple overview of the proper height your desk should be at to maximize the standing desk benefits and to make sure you’re a healthy, fit freelancer for life! Happy Freelancing everyone!

Have you picked yourself up a standing desk? What do you think so far?

13 Replies to “Standing Desk Benefits and Proper Use”

  1. I’ve been looking at getting a standing desk for months now. Your article helped push me in the direction of getting one – thank you! I actually wasn’t aware of the correct way to use a standing desk. I assumed that the best thing to do was stand at it all day. Now I know that I should stand for 30 minutes and sit for 30 – alternate back and forth.

    My question – any recommendations on your favorite standing desk?

    1. Hey Stevie,
      A lot of people assume that a standing desk is made to stand at all day. Many actually call them sit-stand desks which might clear it up a bit as well. Getting one is the best thing I’ve done in a long time! I just wrote an article with 5 great options depending on what you’re looking for The Perfect Height Adjustable Standing Desk Take a look. I think my favorite, and if you’re really serious about a standing desk would be the last one, Apex series. It’s the one I have, and I love it! The first one is great if you’re not sure and you’d just like to try something out. I think it’s on sale on Amazon actually. Just click on any of the links, and it should take you directly to the Amazon page. Good luck and if you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  2. I’m really glad I found this article. I had the wrong impression that standing desks were meant to be used like that: standing, 100% of the time.

    And that idea really scared me! I could not understand how someone enjoyed working on their feet all day long. I know I would be in pain by the end of the first day.

    Now that I read your article, it makes more sense. In fact, I’m even considering to buy one because of the health benefits you mentioned.

    Thank you very much for the great info.

    1. Hey Eliane!
      I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, standing for 8 hours on end would be horrible! I’m glad you could find something that was useful as well. If you are looking into a standing desk then I have some great options in my article: The Perfect Height-Adjustable Standing Desk. The last one on the list is the one I have and I absolutely love it! Good luck and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

  3. Thanks for the wonderful review. I have to admit I thought standing desk were to be used to stand the whole time. I can see now by standing for 30 mind and sitting for 30 mins elimante the risk of doing one or the other for long periods of time.

    Do you personally have a standing desk, and if so how do you like it?

    1. Hey Michael,
      That’s a really common idea with standing desks. Many people actually call them sit-stand desks which might clear it up a bit. I do have a desk. I bought one a while ago and have a review coming out very shortly for it. I love the ability to have my desk at a standing height so I don’t have to sit down and get comfy just to check an email. Whenever I sit down in front of my computer I feel like I should be there for a while working. I have to admit as well that I’m not as diligent as I should be about standing. Many days I set an alarm to let me know it’s time to stand but others I get lost in my work and space it completely. Little by little I guess but if you’re thinking about one I’d highly recommend it. Especially if you’re planning on being in the freelancing game for many years to come. If you’re looking for ideas you can check out my article: The Perfect Height-Adjustable Standing Desk . Let me know if you have any questions!

  4. Interesting article.
    We just had a workplace assessment; the focus was primarily on how our seats were positioned in light of the desk and monitor. Nothing was mentioned about our ‘health’ and what sitting can do for prolong lengths of time.
    These standing desk looks great!!

    As I work in an office and space is of premium value, how realistic will it be for these desks standing desks to operate freely if they were to be placed side by side without distracting other neighboring desks?

    In an home office environment, I can see this working well.

    1. Hey Jacqueline,

      The adverse effects of prolonged sitting are well documented, and it’s very easy to see when as are jobs became more sedentary both obesity and disease starting taking off. Standing desks are a great option for either offices or home business. I’m actually standing up replying to your comment right now!
      As for your question if in an office environment standing desks are distracting or not, both Google and Facebook offer standing desks as options for their employee wellness programs. Check out this Business Insider article to see where I got that. As for distracting, I would say they probably would be for the first few weeks, and then people would just get used to them like everything else. The majority of electric standing desks make less noise than a coffee maker so that shouldn’t be a problem.
      I love my standing desk in my home office! Wouldn’t go back for anything! Thank you again for stopping by and Happy Freelancing!

  5. Hi
    This is a great tip especially for people like me as I have a back pain very often. Especially when I am sitting a lot I can feel that my back is under enormous pressure.
    Standing desk should be a good choice for me as I am working from home so there is no problem with place for a desk.
    I show this article to my wife as she has a back problem as well
    Regards, Marty

    1. Hey Marty,

      A standing desk would be perfect for you. It’s what I’ve got in my home office and I love it! I have an article The Perfect Height-Adjustable Standing Desk that could give you a couple great ideas on some standing desks for both you and your wife. All you need to do is click the title of the standing desk and it will take you straight to Amazon. Also, I would highly recommend you look at the last one, Apex desk. Great reviews and really a high quality desk.

      Good luck and thank you for stopping by. Happy Freelancing!

  6. I have been considering buying a standing desk for some time now.

    I know a lot of my favorite YouTubers use standing desks and I have heard so many positive effects it has on both your body and your workflow.

    This article was really helpful! I feel like a lot of people don’t use their standing desks to their max benefit even when they do have one.

    1. Hey!

      I appreciate you stopping by! I got myself a standing desk a few months ago and I love it! Sometimes I don’t want to sit down and get all settled in just to quickly check an email or deadlines for a project. Having the ability to walk in my office and stay standing is very convenient! If you’re looking for some idea check out my article: The Perfect Height Adjustable Standing Desk – Any budget, any sized office. You’ll find some great options to get you started in the standing desk world! Take care and thanks again!


  7. I have been exploring a standing desk as an option. I have been spending a lot more time working on my computer at home. It really does begin to make you sore from sitting. As I am already arthritic I do not think the constant sitting is helping my joints either.
    I am slightly concerned about how the height adjustments work. I am only 5ft tall and not very strong. I would need something that would adjust to my height and easily. Yet my husband is 6’3″. There is quite a span in our height. Are there options or an option that would fit both our needs? We both use the same computer so it is important that I invest in something that meets our mutual needs.
    Thank you, I look forward to your response.

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