Benefits of a Standing Desk: What Improvements Can You Expect?

A height-adjustable standing desk

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In today’s digital age, countless people find themselves sitting at a desk for extended periods. This sedentary lifestyle, often necessitated by modern work environments, can lead to various health issues, including back pain, poor posture, and an increased risk of chronic diseases.

To counter these negative effects, many people choose to integrate standing desks into their work environments as a practical solution. In this article, we’ll delve into the numerous physical and mental health benefits of using a standing desk and how it just might be worth your investment. 

Key Takeaways

  • Standing desks promote proper body alignment and allow you to switch between sitting and standing, alleviating back, neck, and shoulder pain due to prolonged sitting and bad posture.
  • Standing desks help burn more calories than sitting, contributing to weight control and reduced obesity risk.
  • Standing, especially after meals, can significantly lower blood sugar spikes, aiding in metabolic health and diabetes prevention.
  • Using a standing desk improves blood flow. Enhanced blood flow prevents issues like leg swelling, but it’s important to alternate standing with sitting to avoid muscle fatigue and maintain effective circulation in the long term.
  • Improved circulation also reduces cardiovascular risks and eases the heart’s workload.

Physical Benefits of Using a Standing Desk

Improved posture and reduced back, neck and shoulder pain

Person having back pain

Good posture is the correct alignment of the body, whether standing or sitting. It’s about positioning the spine to maintain its natural curves while ensuring your head is directly above your shoulders, and aligning the top of your shoulders over your hips. This alignment is crucial for evenly distributing body weight, minimizing strain on muscles and joints. A standing desk encourages this healthy posture by allowing you to adjust the desk to your perfect height. Also, you generally tend to slouch when you are sitting but not when you are standing. Therefore, a standing desk especially encourages good posture when you are standing.

Improved posture leads to less stress on the back, neck and shoulders, reducing pain in these areas. Moreover, alternating between sitting and standing at a desk helps prevent muscle stiffness, further reducing discomfort in these regions. Standing encourages gentle, regular movements such as shifting weight, which also helps prevent stiffness.

There are several studies that support that standing desks can reduce back, neck and shoulder pain. A study published on PubMed, for example, found that the introduction of a sit-stand workstation in an office environment significantly reduced chronic low back pain (LBP) among participants over a 3-month period.

Improved circulation

The circulatory system of a human

Using a standing desk can enhance circulation in your body, which is essential for good health. When you stand, the muscles in your legs are more active than when sitting. This increased muscle activity plays a crucial role in pumping blood back to the heart, thereby improving blood flow throughout the body. 

Enhanced blood flow from standing helps ease the workload on the heart, as it more efficiently returns blood from the lower body, reducing the risk of heart-related issues. Additionally, efficient circulation ensures better distribution of oxygen and nutrients to the body, vital for the proper functioning of organs and overall health.

By preventing blood from pooling in the lower extremities, the increased muscle activity also helps prevent problems like swelling in the legs and varicose veins, and contributes to overall vascular health. 

It’s important to note that prolonged standing, especially without moving, can lead to fatigue in the leg muscles, reducing their ability to assist in blood flow and potentially resulting in blood pooling in the legs. Additionally, impaired circulation from prolonged standing can increase the workload on the heart. Therefore, you should incorporate regular movement and alternate between sitting and standing to maintain good circulation in the long term.

Lowered blood sugar levels

A glucometer

Using a standing desk can be beneficial for lowering blood sugar levels, an important factor in maintaining overall health. Research has demonstrated that standing, particularly after meals, significantly reduces blood sugar spikes, with some studies noting a reduction of nearly 50%. This is crucial considering that blood sugar levels tend to rise after eating.

Elaborating on that, it’s been observed that consistent use of a standing desk throughout the day is associated with quicker normalization of blood sugar levels after meals. This suggests that incorporating a standing desk into your daily routine can be helpful in managing blood sugar levels more effectively, potentially aiding in diabetes prevention and promoting better metabolic health.

Reduced risk of obesity and weight gain

A scale and a measuring tape for checking your body weight

Standing desks can help you burn more calories throughout the workday. This increased calorie burn contributes to a lower risk of weight gain and obesity, just by making a simple switch from sitting to standing.

The increased calorie burn from standing desks is primarily due to the engagement of core and leg muscles, which are more active while standing. Additionally, maintaining balance and making minor adjustments in posture requires continuous low-level muscle activity, further contributing to calorie expenditure.

Maintaining a healthy weight through activities like using a standing desk can reduce the likelihood of developing health issues related to obesity, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This approach is a proactive step towards better overall health and wellness.

However, it’s important to note that a standing desk alone is not a comprehensive solution for significant weight loss. Incorporating other healthy habits, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet, is essential for optimal health and weight management.

The Impact on Your Mental Health

Increased energy levels

As mentioned before, when you stand at a desk, your body engages more muscles compared to sitting. This includes core and leg muscles which work to maintain balance and posture. This increased physical activity enhances blood flow and oxygenation, which is directly linked to higher energy levels.

With better blood circulation, your body and brain receive more oxygen, making you feel more alert and awake. This can lead to a noticeable boost in your overall energy levels, making it easier to stay focused.

Reduced physical discomfort

Prolonged sitting and bad posture can cause musculoskeletal issues like back and neck pain, which can distract you and decrease mental focus. As explained above, standing desks can help minimize these issues, making it easier for you to focus and think clearly during your work.

Increased productivity

Person productively working at a desk

The combined effect of increased energy and reduced physical discomfort significantly contributes to improved mental focus and productivity. When your body is energized and not hampered by pain or discomfort, your mind can concentrate better on your task.

This heightened focus leads to increased productivity, as you’re able to work more efficiently and effectively. The mental clarity and alertness fostered by the standing desk setup help in maintaining a steady workflow, ultimately enhancing your overall work performance and mental well-being.


If you’re seeking a practical way to improve your health and well-being while working, especially if you spend long hours at a desk, then a standing desk is a smart choice. It’s an investment in your health, contributing positively to both your physical and mental wellness, and enhancing your overall work experience. So why not give it a try?


1. Can I change a regular desk into a standing one?

Yes, you can convert a regular desk into a standing desk by adding a standing desk converter. They are widely available and come in various designs and sizes, offering solutions for different desks and setups.

2. Is it true that using a treadmill desk improves my health too?

Yes, a treadmill desk can improve health by not only reducing the time spent sitting but also encouraging more movement than standing. Therefore, using a treadmill desk not only reduces the risks associated with prolonged sitting but also provides the added benefit of gentle, consistent exercise, which can further enhance cardiovascular health, increase calorie burn, and improve overall fitness levels.

3. How often should I alternate between sitting and standing?

It’s recommended to alternate between sitting and standing every 30 minutes to maximize the health benefits of a standing desk. This balance helps reduce sitting time while preventing discomfort from standing for too long. If you are a beginner, start with around 10 minutes per hour and gradually increase the duration of standing as your body adjusts.

4. Does a standing desk actually reduce back pain significantly?

Yes, standing desks can significantly alleviate back pain by promoting better posture and movement, thus reducing strain on the back. The impact of standing desks on your back is one of the main reasons people intend to switch to a standing desk.

5. Do you build muscles while using your standing desk?

No, you can’t build muscle by using a standing desk only. If you want to build muscle, you should incorporate regular exercises that are meant to grow the muscles you want to grow. We have created an article on whether using a standing desk builds muscle to answer this question thoroughly and explain to you how you can build muscle in your breaks.

6. Can standing desks help with ADHD?

The effect of using a standing desk on ADHD is different from person to person. However, most people report at least mild improvements. For those who want to take a closer look, we have created an article on whether standing desks help with ADHD

7. Can a standing desk lower blood pressure?

Yes, using a standing desk can actually lower blood pressure. We’ve created an article on whether a standing desk can lower blood pressure for those wanting to take a closer look.

8. Can a standing desk help with neck pain?

Yes, a standing desk can help with neck pain. As mentioned above, a standing desk can also reduce neck pain by allowing you to alternate between sitting and standing and encouraging good posture.

9. Can a standing desk help with sciatica?

Yes, a standing desk can help alleviate sciatica pain by promoting good posture and allowing you to alternate between sitting and standing.

10. Can a standing desk reduce knee pain?

A standing desk can contribute to the reduction of knee pain if used correctly. It’s important that you avoid prolonged sitting and standing and additionally do regular exercises that target your knees if you want to experience a significant reduction in knee pain.