Ditch the Chair and Get a Stand-up Desk

Another very functional way for runners to improve their stability and overall body balance is to get a stand-up desk. Many of us spend hours a day sitting in front of a computer at work or home. This causes the body to go out of alignment, and can even impair or diminish that end-of-workday training run. Why not stand while doing your work or answering emails? Take your shoes off when you do this for even greater benefit. There is growing medical evidence that the massive amount of time one spends sitting is negative for one‘s overall health, so yet another reason to get out of the chair.

But wait!!! Wearing high-heel or non-flat shoes defeats the entire purpose of a stand-up desk since your posture will be compromised! Your feet need to be flat on the floor. Barefoot or in socks is best!

13 Responses to “Ditch the Chair and Get a Stand-up Desk”

  1. Andrew says:

    Hi Dr Marc,

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I am considering purchasing a stand up desk. I work from home and chained to the desk pretty much 8 hours a day.

    I was wondering: after a period of adaptation, do you think it is possible to spend a full working day at a stand up desk without feeling too fatigued? I guess there are plenty of people who stand up all day for their jobs. Would you have any thoughts on what the adaptation period would be?



  2. Hips says:

    It looks like she knows how to get some great hip extension.

  3. Joel says:

    I worked several years as an officer on a ship where I stood 8 hours per day on duty. It involved walking around the bridge, checking radar, navigation, radio, etc. the perfect work environment for healthy use of the body. When I switched to office work I quickly gained weight and realized immediately that my stand-up job as a ship’s officer was a really healthy experience. Getting a standup desk is next on the list!

  4. Harper says:

    Do you have any experience or thoughts about those kneeling chairs? (e.g., ) Are they a happy medium for those without flexibility to have a standing desk? Or do they just look funny and not make any real improvements over a regular chair.

  5. naomi says:

    I switched to a standing desk and have not looked back. Barefoot is also a great opportunity to practice spreading out my toes and getting the contact with the ground just right. My chiropractor tells me that it’s important to have a little something under your heels so that you don’t keep rolling back – otherwise you can end up over compensating and leaning forward all day, so I do sometimes stand with a magazine under my heels if I have a long day of desk work.

    I find that I get a little sore after standing in one position for too long – about 45 minutes – so I move around, go and make tea, hang the washing out, run around the block. It’s too easy to just keep sitting down when you have a chair, but standing keeps you in touch with your body.

  6. Bryan C says:

    I converted my desk to a standup based on this article Dr. Mark, thanks! I have a 6′ wide traditional office desk with drawers on the outside and seating in the middle and couldn’t find anything cost effect that would serve my purpose or my height needs (I’m 6’6″). So I bought a sheet of decent plywood and made 2 boxes the same width as my drawers and jacked up the whole desk (for $33)! Now to surface is 48″ high and it is awesome!!

    I also had begun wearing vibram five fingers 10-16 hrs per day back in Feb so my feet were already pretty strong and comfy standing on tiles cement. An interesting thing is all the “advice” I get from co-workers telling me I should get a cushy pad to stand on (these actually are for sale) or I should wear big cushy running shoes so I don’t hurt my feet and back, and the list goes on.

    Initially my lower back would get sore towards the end of the day but after about 3 weeks it no longer does. I figure if my lower back can’t keep my core and pelvis in the proper position just standing for an hour why would I expect it to be able to during an hour long run? I love standing at work!

  7. KenZ says:

    I have been using a stand-up desk for a bit over a month now (left my regular office desk there, built some shelves above it so that keyboard is on one level and monitors at eye level so I don’t slump my neck). I found that if I just stood level in one position, it was pretty hard on my back, but I quickly learned to put the following “toys” on the floor: a foam yoga block, a wooden rolling pin, a massage ball (has little nubs on it, but a lacrosse ball would work). Then I just switch around rolling my feet on one of the objects or putting one foot up on the block. Switch it around, and don’t stay static. After a very, very short time, it’s not distracting and you can get your work done while reducing the discomfort of consistently standing in one position.

  8. Natalie says:

    Hi Dr. Mark,
    Thanks for the post. Have you thought about writing about an adjustable height desk rather than just a standing desk? I’m sure you know more than most people that it isn’t good to sit still all day, but it also isn’t good to just stand in one position all day either. I’ve always heard you should break it up– stand, sit, walk, stretch, move.
    I use a NextDesk at work and I LOVE it. I just push a button and it moves to any height that I want. I do stand for most of my day, but the sitting option is helpful–especially right now when I have a slight running injury in my foot. (hoping this will go away soon…)
    Anyway, just thought you might want to think about mentioning it– I think it’s a really great desk; it has certainly changed the way I work and feel. Here’s their site: http://www.nextdesks.com/

  9. Anne says:

    Not everyone or all workplaces can afford a standing desk, though a couple of people above solved this. Scott Sonnon “Ageless Mobility Part 1 -5” on youtube suggests some exercises for keeping the lower back mobile. You can use the one on 5 when travelling by car, bus or plane (as long as you are not the driver).The film is difficult to watch because this guy is giving a talk in a very noisy place, but clip 1 and clip 5 are the ones that have exercises that relate to this subject. I have tried the one in clip5 and think it is very effective for keeping your lower back alive. MY workplace is now in my living room, my desk a board on trestles, butI have a cupboard I can put the computer on, with a balance plate beside it to keep ankles and hips moving.
    Sonnon is inspired by something called Intu-Flow Joint mobility which looks interesting.

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