2

votes

Standing desks...do they promote leanness?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 03, 2012 at 3:29 PM

I recently made the switch to a standing desk, because I swear I could feel my muscles atrophying when I was sitting for 8 straight hours at work.

Has anyone had a positive experience with standing desks and weight loss? My body has not adjusted well to the office lifestyle and I find it much harder to lose weight now that I am more sedentary than I was at my previous job (farming apprentice). Is a standing desk my ticket to faster results?

Thanks for your help!

3dc940ac9be21e45cf83207814c8cd46

(544)

on October 15, 2012
at 02:34 PM

I made a standing desk and use a memory foam mat under my tootsies! It is fabulous!

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on April 09, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Treadmill desks. DIY: http://www.treadmill-desk.com/ And fancy: http://www.trekdesk.com/

2a0f1afde303eadc422d015fc22f7512

(1118)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:46 PM

yes but the swopper has adjustable height and better mobility. THe ball is a great cheaper alternative.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Better yet, we should connect a treadmill to a generator that connects to the computer so we have to run to power the computer.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:23 PM

I stand all day at work, and do move around, as I work in a research lab. I am noticeably more fatigued at the end of the day, vs. a lazy weekend sitting around.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:15 PM

Wouldn't a stability ball achieve pretty much the same thing as the swopper chair for a lot less money? http://www.target.com/p/Reebok-Stability-Ball-Kit-Purple-55cm/-/A-12733000?reco=Rec|pdp|12733000|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency&lnk=Rec|pdp|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency Someone suggested this to me awhile back and I thought it seemed like a good idea instead of my big, comfy swivel chair for at least a couple hours per day.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:09 PM

When I used to play a lot of computer games I thought it would be a great idea to connect a treadmill to the computer so that if my character was running or walking from one town to the next, I would have to walk, too.

3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

(860)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:00 PM

I have a standing desk at home and had one at work for several months and had the same experience. No changes in body composition whatsoever.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on April 03, 2012
at 10:40 PM

Like anything, it really depends on the skill and behavior of the user. I agree that standing immobile in one position for hours on end is likely hazardous. But a standing desk needn't be used this way. I shift constantly, elevate one leg, then the other, twist and stretch--I'm moving pretty much constantly. I take frequent breaks to walk around. I take sit breaks to eat, when I'm concentrating intensely on something, or talking on the phone. All in all, I feel much better standing that I ever did sitting.

5249df0c1098a8ea4607cc305f0cbdcf

(864)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:10 PM

$700? wtf. you could probably build one of those yourself

A2fe5bbd09c7804fd321e9e9a9f9d199

(1614)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:07 PM

Yes absolutely. I do standing desk and the main benefit is I'm less likely to be immobile for long periods of time like when I was sitting/slouching. Standing still for long periods is more noticably annoying, I think, and when your body isn't sunken into a pit of comfort it's easier to remember to take breaks, sway back and forth, air squats, dynamic stretches, etc.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on April 03, 2012
at 04:30 PM

I think you should do what works for you. CU says sit to work (which is what I do). I suspect if you have to pay lots of attention to what you are doing while working you may have issues with your ability to work. I'd just still take lots of breaks for movement. I have a 20-minute timer (http://e.ggtimer.com/20minutes) on my computer that I use to build in movement while at work.

1dcfcebc5f36408d121f124a78292d42

(1295)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:21 PM

Good article, thanks! Do you think it would make a difference if I moved around a fair amount while "standing"? i.e. bending my knees, butt-kicks, pacing, etc.?

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9 Answers

4
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on April 03, 2012
at 04:15 PM

I think we're meant to move, not sit or stand for prolonged periods of time. At least one ergonomic group (at Cornell) suggests that standing desks only set you up for the kinds of issues folks who stand all day have.

I think trying to work more activity into your day is the key. For example, I'm doing it for part weight loss and part back rehab, but when I go to the loo, I don't just take the 75 steps from my office ... I take the longer route to the other side of the floor, walk down one floor, walk around to the other stairway and then walk back up to my floor. A little thing, but doing that 2 or 3x a day has seemed to help me quite a bit.

And now I'm heading off to my lunchtime walk. Exercise and vitamin D FTW!

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on April 03, 2012
at 04:30 PM

I think you should do what works for you. CU says sit to work (which is what I do). I suspect if you have to pay lots of attention to what you are doing while working you may have issues with your ability to work. I'd just still take lots of breaks for movement. I have a 20-minute timer (http://e.ggtimer.com/20minutes) on my computer that I use to build in movement while at work.

A2fe5bbd09c7804fd321e9e9a9f9d199

(1614)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:07 PM

Yes absolutely. I do standing desk and the main benefit is I'm less likely to be immobile for long periods of time like when I was sitting/slouching. Standing still for long periods is more noticably annoying, I think, and when your body isn't sunken into a pit of comfort it's easier to remember to take breaks, sway back and forth, air squats, dynamic stretches, etc.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on April 03, 2012
at 10:40 PM

Like anything, it really depends on the skill and behavior of the user. I agree that standing immobile in one position for hours on end is likely hazardous. But a standing desk needn't be used this way. I shift constantly, elevate one leg, then the other, twist and stretch--I'm moving pretty much constantly. I take frequent breaks to walk around. I take sit breaks to eat, when I'm concentrating intensely on something, or talking on the phone. All in all, I feel much better standing that I ever did sitting.

1dcfcebc5f36408d121f124a78292d42

(1295)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:21 PM

Good article, thanks! Do you think it would make a difference if I moved around a fair amount while "standing"? i.e. bending my knees, butt-kicks, pacing, etc.?

3
5249df0c1098a8ea4607cc305f0cbdcf

on April 03, 2012
at 04:46 PM

Time for a stationary bike desk.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:09 PM

When I used to play a lot of computer games I thought it would be a great idea to connect a treadmill to the computer so that if my character was running or walking from one town to the next, I would have to walk, too.

Medium avatar

(10663)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Better yet, we should connect a treadmill to a generator that connects to the computer so we have to run to power the computer.

870fdea50f2a9f1cd2890c8e22549300

(2056)

on April 09, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Treadmill desks. DIY: http://www.treadmill-desk.com/ And fancy: http://www.trekdesk.com/

1
A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on April 03, 2012
at 10:50 PM

I began standing in December, about 2 months into my initial foray into paleo. I lost a lot of weight very quickly in the beginning, and while I cannot say with certainty that I would not have lost just as much while sitting at work, the extra ~300 calories burned a day (without taxing me enough to stimulate over-feeding, like chronic cardio does) probably did not hurt my weight loss effort at all.

Other benefits included:

  • Reduced back discomfort;
  • Improved focus (I get sleepy sitting at a computer, but not standing);
  • Better awareness of my body, and when it needs to sit or move. When sitting, I seldom think, "gee, I really need to get up and stretch, or move around. But when I'm standing, my body often reminds me that it's time to sit, go for a brief walk, or simply take a moment to bend and stretch.
  • Finally, it really does make me feel more tired by the end of the day. In my case, this is a good thing. I get home from work, make dinner, and by the time I'm unwinding and being "done" for the day, I feel physically tired, not just mentally exhausted but physically stressed out or tensed up. Feeling physically tired at the end of the day is very comforting to me, and helps me sleep better.

I do think the best option may be to have a standing desk with a tall chair. At least then, you can choose to sit, or to stand, however you feel. With a sitting desk, there's pretty much only one way to use it. Choices can be good.

Edit: I forgot to mention something important (for me at least). I found it worked out better to have an anti-fatigue mat on the floor upon which to stand, then doff my shoes. Shoes totally change where on my feet I put my weight, and as a result, where in my body I find my center of gravity. Shod, my weight goes on my heels, and everything starts to hurt. Unshod, I'm on the balls of my feet, with my back aligned in a more favorable (and comfortable) position. This shift happens of its own accord--I do not purposely focus on it.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:23 PM

I stand all day at work, and do move around, as I work in a research lab. I am noticeably more fatigued at the end of the day, vs. a lazy weekend sitting around.

3dc940ac9be21e45cf83207814c8cd46

(544)

on October 15, 2012
at 02:34 PM

I made a standing desk and use a memory foam mat under my tootsies! It is fabulous!

1
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 03, 2012
at 09:56 PM

It might help, but I do think that moving on regular intervals would probably have a larger impact. Personally, I find that my productivity takes a major hit when I spend the whole day at my standing desk, UNLESS I am mostly doing readings, which I do at the same pace standing as sitting. Something like calculus, statistics, graphing, those kinds of heavy-on-the-writing activities I am just much faster at when sitting.

My set up has gotten pretty elaborate: old book shelf for standing (where I do all my reading), little desk for written work (with just a kitchen chair, but I hope to upgrade someday), white board for interactive work (drawing graphs etc), and a good amount of floor space for pacing and movement. Moving between all these activities has really allowed me to prolong my concentration, and I think is beneficial for just switching it up.

I pace whenever I'm on the phone (chance to move), pace when I'm stuck on problems, do calf raises regularly (careful, easy to go overboard then not be able to touch your heel to the ground the next day, haha), do wall push-ups (little more low key in an office setting), do chair dips (the only good thing about sitting in a kitchen chair) and stretch a LOT. I can't sit still in a chair with my heels on the floor- I'm mostly cross legged, so I stretch out my sides, spine, and neck regularly.

0
52ce8a27f094b55bf6db0db1bed667a7

on July 06, 2012
at 03:10 AM

I agree, man is not evolved to sit, or even just stand all day long. However, being on your feet will give you the opportunity to move more often. I know that's the case with me, as I stand at this desk (my kickstarter project) http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mcpace/stand-up-desk-kit-the-easiest-way-to-stand-while-w.

0
3276de40c92f29942544421e51ccdde1

on April 05, 2012
at 08:21 AM

I've been using a standing desk on and off for about a year now, and have just constructed a rather large on desk raiser - a desk on a desk.

I think the general benefits I get from this is not so much the standing itself, but what standing makes me do. I move around a lot more, helped by having some good music. I sit for phone calls, and take more breaks sitting down. This is good. The thing about sitting in front of a computer screen is that it's not just the sitting, it's the staring at a screen all day. More breaks, also breaks me from the screen.

This is why I have moved to the more permanent solution. You can see it here if you want: http://www.perspicuousasmud.com/2012/04/04/standing-desk

0
7d01d86c539003eed77cf901bf037412

(1076)

on April 03, 2012
at 08:46 PM

My personal experience is no. I've had a standing desk for months now, and while I enjoy the freedom of movement etc, there's been no measurable impact on my weight or body composition. Sorry.

3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

(860)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:00 PM

I have a standing desk at home and had one at work for several months and had the same experience. No changes in body composition whatsoever.

0
4303a65967884e68bfae59817c227351

(1881)

on April 03, 2012
at 08:37 PM

Standing desk, fold up stool incase you get tired/ stiff from standing. The stool will require some sort of posture still. Set alarm or just take notice and every 15 or 30 min or something move a bit. Maybe on the 30's you do 20 air squats or lunges and on the hours do a couple pushups or something. Keeps you moving and should help avoid the one place problems of standing OR sitting.

Promoting leanness? Ya I'd think so. It's much easier to sit all day than to stand in one spot all day. You gotta move if you're standing at some point.

0
2a0f1afde303eadc422d015fc22f7512

(1118)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:56 PM

5249df0c1098a8ea4607cc305f0cbdcf

(864)

on April 03, 2012
at 05:10 PM

$700? wtf. you could probably build one of those yourself

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:15 PM

Wouldn't a stability ball achieve pretty much the same thing as the swopper chair for a lot less money? http://www.target.com/p/Reebok-Stability-Ball-Kit-Purple-55cm/-/A-12733000?reco=Rec|pdp|12733000|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency&lnk=Rec|pdp|ClickCP|item_page.adjacency Someone suggested this to me awhile back and I thought it seemed like a good idea instead of my big, comfy swivel chair for at least a couple hours per day.

2a0f1afde303eadc422d015fc22f7512

(1118)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:46 PM

yes but the swopper has adjustable height and better mobility. THe ball is a great cheaper alternative.

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