Standing versus Sitting

“Cut through organizational impediments and get some real work done.”

I’ve been hearing about studies that show the detriment of prolonged sitting. These awful side effects include chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic likened sitting to smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle has even been linked to early death.

So what’s the alternative? Some people use giant stability balls to maintain their posture while sitting at a desk. Others opt for exorbitant treadmill desks. An interesting idea, but I can’t imagine getting too much real exercise done while typing away.

Another viable option is a standing desk. However, before I fork over too much money for a permanent fixture, I wanted to try out the idea by using a portable unit.

standing desk

How did working at a standing desk fare?

Professional Opinion

  • Pros: Better metabolism, Improved concentration, Increased blood flow
  • Cons: Body stiffness, Fatigue from standing, Sore feet

Personal Opinion

  • Pros: Better posture, Enhanced core, More appropriate eye level
  • Cons: Awkwardness while standing, Difficulty positioning papers on tray, Potential leaning of body for support

There are pluses and minuses. I’m feeling more strength in my abdomen, but sometimes I’m just tired of standing. I’ve been compromising by blending the two: standing for periods of time, and then sitting when I’m too fatigued.

What do you think about the standing versus sitting debate?



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  1. Every time I read about how bad sitting is for you, I get up and type-like for 5 seconds-then sit. From your photo, that looks like a desk to sit at. I’ve not seen a standing desk, except for those threadmill ones where I know I’ll teeter over in a few minutes. I’d rather be comfortably standing, but need to see and try out a standing desk.

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      That’s a good idea to chunk it into small time segments, Mona. Oh, that portable stand was just for display on my coffee table. However, I’ve used it on the dining table (which is at a higher height), and it works okay there.

  2. I’ve written on the topic of the Sitting Disease a couple times myself. I have a regular treadmill, but my husband found a $40 plastic treadmill shelf for me a few years ago. Best Christmas present ever. I just strap my laptop on and type, all while walking at a slow pace. So much better for my back than sitting, and I agree with you, better blood flow resulting in better concentration. I love it. If I don’t feel like walking, I put my foot stool on my kitchen island and put my laptop on that. Then I can stand while working. No cost involved. (Though those fancy treadmill desks are awfully nice…)

  3. I’ve read similar studies and I agree that we spend too much time sitting, either at a desk or behind the wheel. It’s hard for me to be productive if I stand for a long time. But I avoid to be seated for hours in a row. Like Mona I stand up after a while. If I’m wriitng for a long time, I include light house chores such as loading a washer, dusting and even climbing the stairs.
    I use my kitchen counter as a desk whenever I can, especially to check email, blogs, anything that doesn’t require too much concentration. Otherwise I admit having a hard time to stand up for more than 45 minutes if I’m working on a manuscript.
    Carrie’s advice sound pretty good.

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      Thanks for chiming in, Evelyne. Sometimes I like to take mini exercise breaks to get my mind and body moving again. :)

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