Get up, stand up, stand up for your health.
The average worker spends 8.9 hours a day sitting down. From your commute, through a day at the office, to your sofa in the evening, sedentary lifestyles have become the norm. But constant sitting is bad for your health. One review of 18 studies with a total of 800,000 participants by the Universities of Leicester and Loughborough in 2012 found that, compared to those who sat the least, those who spent the most time sedentary were linked with:
49% increase in death due to any cause 147% increase in cardiovascular events 112% increase in risk of diabetes 90% increase in death due to cardiovascular events
All bad news – and it gets worse in that you can’t simply counteract the effects of sitting for so long with a 30-minute blast of exercise at the end of the day.
“New research published in The Lancet has found that we need to do between 60-75 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity exercise a day to counteract the negative health effects of sitting for eight hours a day or more,” says Dr Sarah Deedat, Bupa UK’s senior public health and behaviour change advisor.
“Most of us do not achieve this. However, there are things we can do to reduce the effects of sitting down for too long, including going for a walk on our break, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or standing on our commute to work each day.”
A standing desk is another great way to break up the long sedentary stretches of the working day.
“It’s best to alternate between sitting and standing if you can,” says Deedat.
“If you usually sit down all day, try standing for short periods of time with the intention of standing for a total of two hours a day. Once you’re comfortable with this, work towards standing for a total of four hours a day.”
A standing desk isn’t a panacea, however, and it’s also wise to not push the standing too much if it feels uncomfortable.
“You should also try doing some light exercise throughout the day, such as going for a short walk and desk stretches, along with your usual exercise routine,” says Deedat.
“Listen to your body. If you’re feeling any tension or pain, adjust your position and check your desk is ergonomically set up.”
The Best Standing Desks Converters
All the following options rest on a desk, providing a handy platform to elevate your screen when you’re sitting (if you exclusively use a laptop, factor in the cost of a Bluetooth keyboard), and then rise into the right position for standing, like a phoenix from the flames of your former sedentary self.
The warm dark wood on this affordable option is more likely to fit in with the decor of a home office than other monochrome options, and it could be the visual antidote to the sterile design of many modern offices. It’s definitely the antidote to terribly written instructions, because it’s pre-assembled. The desk converter is operated with two pressure-sensitive handles and is fully adjustable so you aren’t locked in to predefined heights.
Like the Halter above, the Yo-Yo Desk has two platforms – one for a screen, the other for a keyboard – and uses handles on either side to raise and lower it. It differs in that there are only 15 preset heights (but that should be plenty) and it’s not pre-assembled, although it shouldn’t take more than five minutes to set up. On the plus side, it is a bit sturdier than the Halter, which might take on more importance if you tend to hammer the keyboard when typing.
Varidesk Pro Plus
The Varidesk Pro Plus is a streamlined option that can fit on a smaller desk. It has two tiers for keyboard and screen and comes in three sizes: 30in, 36in and 48in (76/91/147cm).
The Best Adjustable Standing Desks
Starting from scratch? Then consider a true standing desk with a mechanism in the legs, normally electrified, to raise and lower the desk.
Posturite DeskRite 300
At up to 180cm wide, this standing desk is an expansive, unfussy option with the only detail being two handy cable tidies. The electric mechanism is adjusted at the press of a button and set-up is just as easy, because Posturite will install it for free. It’s not the most affordable option, but simple things done well tend to cost more.
For many people, buying furniture means a trip to Ikea, so why should it be any different for standing desks? The Bekant comes in a range of colours and can be adjusted at the press of a button from 65-125cm. There’s also plenty of room on top for a cup full of the little pencils you stole while buying it.
LifeFitness InMovement Treadmill Desk
“Standing at your desk, are you? Oh that’s good. I hear that’s good for you. Well done. No seriously, well done. Me? I RUN AT MY DESK.” You, to your colleagues, when your treadmill desk is installed. Can you get any work done while walking? Who knows? But you’ll definitely be super fit-when you’re fired.
Written by Nick Harris-Fry for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.