6 Reasons to Avoid a New Standing Desk Today

reasons to avoid a new standing desk

6 Reasons to Avoid a New Standing Desk Today

Key Points

  • Standing desks may not have as many health benefits as initially believed.
  • Prolonged standing can have negative effects on health, similar to prolonged sitting.
  • Standing desks may negatively impact cognitive function.
  • Having a chair nearby is still necessary for breaks.
  • Laptop users may face ergonomic challenges with standing desks.
  • Standing desks are generally more expensive than traditional desks.

What are some reasons to avoid a new standing desk? Standing desks have made quite a splash since their introduction to office spaces. However, it’s not a bed of roses when considering their long-term effects on users.

Ostensibly, standing desks are a healthier alternative to sitting at a traditional desk all day. After all, you get to be on your feet, so you’re allowing more ample blood flow across the whole body. However, the health benefits of standing desks might be greatly overstated.

Before you purchase a new standing desk, it might help to look at some of the drawbacks of using one.

A Brief Overview of Standing Desks

So, what is a standing desk? Standing desks are a paradigm shift of sorts from traditional office desks. Office desks will usually have the user sitting with the various accessories needed for their job.

Standing desks do away with the chair and instead focus on providing an elevated surface for work. This is alleged to help with health and wellness in the office. However, this might not be the case.

Why You Might Want a Standing Desk

Users opt for standing desks because the information surrounding them supports health and wellness. Office work can be tedious and hard on the body over long durations. After all, you’re sitting for multiple hours while working.

A standing desk gets a user up on their feet, and should ideally promote better posture and numerous other health benefits. That said, it might not be the most ideal solution for a number of reasons.

Reasons to Avoid a New Standing Desk

Here are six reasons to avoid a new standing desk.

Reason #1: Inactivity

reasons to avoid a new standing desk
You’ll want to remain active, even when using a standing desk.


Standing desks are made to alleviate the health issues that arise from sitting for long periods of time. However, the health benefit of standing while working is grossly overstated. You do burn more calories while standing, at least when compared to sitting. But the difference is minimal, at best.

The big marker of what causes health issues in the office space is less standing as opposed to sitting, and more general inactivity. If you’re standing still for long periods of time, it can have negative effects on your health, just as sitting can.

A 2018 study linked prolonged sitting and standing to increased heart disease risk. This 12-year study looked at over 7,000 workers with no baseline heart issues. Shockingly, the risk of heart disease when remaining inactive was increased two-fold, whether the workers were sitting or standing.

As such, this is one of the absolutely vital reasons to avoid a new standing desk.

Reason #2: Foot and Leg Discomfort

Sitting for long periods of time can exacerbate back and leg issues. However, standing for long can also cause discomfort. If you’re not taking special care with your flooring treatments, you might experience increased discomfort in the feet and legs.

This goes further, with idle standing potentially leading to an increased risk of blood clots. Standing for long durations can be brutal on your body, especially if you aren’t taking breaks.

What actually promotes wellness in the office is moving periodically, not sitting or standing. As such, this is just another of the reasons to avoid a new standing desk.

Reason #3: Standing Desks Can Affect Mental Performance

There has been quite a bit of literature discussing the improvements to mental cognition when using a standing desk. However, this is a bit of a misconception. Yes, being up and standing can help with cognitive functions.

That said, you might experience a loss of cognitive function when standing for extended durations. Getting up and moving around is still the best recourse for increasing your brain’s performance. Being sedentary is the real killer in these comparisons.

Reason #4: You’ll Still Want a Chair for Breaks

No one is going to want to stand for eight hours straight. Let’s just get that out of the way right away. You’ll still want to take breaks, but rather than getting up to stretch your legs, you’ll likely want a chair nearby to rest.

Having seating really just does away with the primary benefit of a standing desk. Again, this does relate to inactivity. It is far better to reduce the fatigue to your hips, back, knees, and feet by getting up from a chair and moving around a bit.

Now, if you’ve already got a standing desk, a chair is a perfectly viable option. However, this is just one of the minor reasons to avoid a new standing desk.

Reason #5: Poor Ergonomics for Laptop Users

reasons to avoid a new standing desk
Poor ergonomics can lead to great discomfort when working at a standing desk.

©Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

There are proper ways to use your traditional accessories for computer use. That is supposing you have great posture and everything is placed at the right height. Laptops can throw users for a loop thanks to the keyboard and trackpad being integrated with the same device as the display.

Standing desks take quite a bit of configuration for laptop users. If you have one at a set height with no adjustments, you’ll run the risk of creating discomfort for any laptop use. This isn’t a major dealbreaker but is just one of the reasons to avoid a new standing desk.

Reason #6: Priced at a Premium

On average, standing desks are more expensive than a comparable traditional desk. Let’s face it, standing desks are trendy. The impact they’re having on the public Zeitgeist has led to manufacturers pricing them at a higher rate than other comparable desks for office use.

Every expense in an office adds up over time, so it might be worth going with other solutions if protecting the bottom line is a concern. This is another of the reasons to avoid a new standing desk. That said, it is more of an annoyance than a reason to go running from them.

Alternatives to Standing Desks

Here are some solid alternatives to a new standing desk.

1. Take Regular Breaks from a Traditional Desk

This might come as a shock, but taking regular breaks from your normal office desk is great for you. Getting up in regular intervals, taking a short walk, or just going and getting more coffee is going to do far more for your health than standing for eight hours a day.

Inactivity and being sedentary are what promote poor health and wellness in an office environment. So, take care of yourself and realize that just getting up is going to work wonders for you.

2. Desk Pedals

Compact for Desk Use
himaly Mini Exercise Bike
  • Adjustable pedal resistance
  • Digital display for time and calories burnt.
  • Lightweight, weighs only eight pounds
  • Stows easily under an office desk
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2023 03:12 pm GMT

Another great alternative to a standing desk is a set of desk pedals. What are desk pedals? They’re a piece of exercise equipment that sits out of the way, under your desk, near your feet.

You can take these and pedal like you’re using an exercise bike. Desk pedals allow you to get your heart rate up, and also keep you active — even if you’re stuck on a heavy project. It is a great solution for those looking to promote health and wellness while still being productive.

3. Office Chair Balance Cushions

Keeps You Active While Sitting
Gaiam Balance Disc
  • Provides instability while seated so you actively correct your posture
  • Can be used for exercises
  • Great for active kids
  • Works well for meditation and other mindfulness exercises
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2023 03:12 pm GMT

Balance cushions are another stellar alternative to standing desks. These cushions require active effort to maintain good posture, which goes a long way in helping your body.

They’re relatively affordable, as well, and can be readily added to any office chair. You can even use a balance disc as a piece of exercise equipment to help strengthen your core and legs. Balance cushions are a great low-cost way to keep active and healthy.

Closing Thoughts

So, should you get a new standing desk? If health is a major concern, then probably not. They really aren’t that much better than a sitting desk when it comes down to it.

Reasons to Avoid a New Standing Desk
1. They still promote inactivity.
2. Standing desks can lead to greater leg and foot discomfort.
3. A standing desk can impact your cognitive functions.
4. You’ll still need a chair for breaks.
5. There are poor ergonomics for laptop users.
6. Standing desks are typically more expensive than regular desks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are standing desks actually unhealthy?

A desk doesn’t make you healthy or unhealthy. Instead, it is not moving around that greatly impacts your health.

Can special flooring reduce the leg and back strain with a standing desk?

Yes, it absolutely can. However, you’re looking at additional expenses to accommodate a piece of office equipment.

Should I just get up and move around from my sitting desk?

Absolutely, that is the biggest thing you can do for your own health when working for long durations.

Are sitting desks unhealthy?

If you have poor posture and bad practices with handling your keyboard and mouse, then yes. However, if you have good practices and posture, and you get up to move around, you’ll be fine.

Would having exercise equipment at my desk be beneficial?

Absolutely, it gets the blood pumping and raises your heart rate. You don’t even have to use it constantly, just fifteen minutes or so a day can have a huge boost to your health.

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