Sit-Stand Desks Insufficient to Offset Health Risks from Prolonged Sitting

Sit Stand Up Desks Offset Health Risks

Sit-Stand Desks Insufficient to Offset Health Risks from Prolonged Sitting

In the current digital age, most of us find ourselves confined to our desks for the majority of the day. A plethora of studies have highlighted the detrimental health implications of extended, uninterrupted periods of sitting. Consequently, many offices have integrated sit-stand desks, which offer the flexibility to alternate between sitting and standing at the simple touch of a button or flick of a lever. However, is standing truly better? Are there potential risks associated with excessive standing? This article delves into the research on the health risks linked with prolonged sitting and standing, and discusses whether investing in an electric height adjustable sit stand up desk is a worthy decision.

What are the potential risks of excessive sitting?

Individuals who spend most of their time sitting are at an increased risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer, which can ultimately lead to a reduced lifespan. Long periods of sitting can also result in musculoskeletal issues, particularly in the back and neck region. The health hazards associated with prolonged sitting are even more pronounced among individuals who engage in minimal physical activity or fail to meet the recommended levels of physical activity. While being physically active is crucial in mitigating the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, it cannot entirely negate the adverse effects of spending extensive hours sitting each day.

Can prolonged standing be harmful too?

Contrary to popular belief, extended periods of standing can also be detrimental to musculoskeletal health. Long periods of standing can result in symptoms such as muscle fatigue, leg swelling, varicose veins, and discomfort and pain in the lower back and lower extremities (hips, knees, ankles, and feet). Recent studies suggest limiting standing to approximately 40 minutes at a time, without a break, to reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal discomfort due to prolonged standing. However, it’s important to note that not everyone will experience these symptoms, and some individuals may be more resilient to the effects of prolonged standing than others.

How can sit-stand desks help?

Sit-stand desks can effectively reduce sitting time during the workday among desk-based workers. Users of the best sit stand desks tend to alternate between sitting and standing postures, instead of standing for extended periods. However, the successful transition to working while standing up varies, and many users revert to their previous way of working sitting down in the long term. Thus, sit-stand desks alone are not sufficient to reduce desk-based workers’ sitting time. Employers and organizations must consider this when designing workplace policies, environments, and culture to ensure “sit less and move more” initiatives are effectively implemented and sustained.

How to choose the best standing desk?

If you already own a sit-stand desk, whether to keep or discard it will depend on various factors. Reflect on your usage patterns, comfort, desk ergonomics, health needs, cost, and space requirements. If standing or sitting for long periods while working leads to discomfort or fatigue, you may need to adjust your sit-stand routine or include additional supports. If you have an existing health condition or ongoing musculoskeletal symptoms, seek advice from a healthcare professional or ask your employer about arranging an assessment with an ergonomics specialist. This expert guidance can help you make an informed decision about your sit-stand desk.

Being physically active is paramount

Physical activity guidelines from governments and health-related agencies recommend adults limit the amount of time spent sitting. Interrupting and replacing sitting time with physical activity of any intensity has health benefits. The World Health Organization further recommends adults “aim to do more than the recommended levels of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity” to reduce the harmful health effects of high levels of sitting. In essence, simply standing is not enough to counteract the harms of prolonged sitting. We need to incorporate more physical activity into our daily routines.

author avatar
Guy Director
Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Ergomotion Director since 2005.

Google Reviews


Google Reviews

Andrew Pieterse 14/06/24

Great service and really quick shipping. It is great to know that you are getting quality parts from a Scandinavian manufacturer with your standing desk purchase rather than the cheap knock off stuff you get from other major brands. Reasonably priced for the quality too!

Janette Clarke 20/05/24

Guy was very accommodating with meeting him at a time that suited me. He assembled the desk prior to me collecting so I only had to carry it inside with help (it's pretty heavy). The desk is great, the storage racks underneath with the 6 x built in powerpoints was worth the extra money. I have a functioning & tidy workplace.
Guy was brilliant, I highly recommend.

Nickel 10/05/24

Have now purchased 2 stand up office desks off Guy, benchmark sales service from him, all via email, so easy; from quote to plug in, only matched by the strong quality of these machines, solid and stable. If only everything in life was this easy and reliable.

Jennifer Fadriquela 23/03/24

I purchased an EDesk this month from Ergomotion, and it was a remarkably smooth transaction. Guy was eager to answer all my questions before my purchase. As a first-time buyer of a standing desk, I truly appreciated how he addressed my queries with thorough details and provided options within my budget.

The delivery process was also smooth, despite a slight delay in the ETA. Guy ensured I received all necessary updates from the courier/removalist.

I've been using the desk for a couple of weeks now and I'm satisfied with it. It's sturdy on all height adjustments and the motor works as expected. I also like oak finish because it's clean-looking and suits my room setup.

Overall, I'm happy with my purchase and I'll definitely recommend Ergomotion to someone looking for their desk needs.

Josh Oliver 04/02/24

I've had an ergomotion desk for 10 years. It's still as good today as it was brand new. Over the years Guy has always responded promptly to any guidance I've needed (mostly help putting the desk back together after removalists take it apart).

Michael Cheung 18/01/24

Great service from Guy and the team at Ergomotion! Helped with all my queries and was able to source a standing desk part for me when many others weren't able! Highly recommend!

Shao Lei 30/11/23

Decent desk and awesome service. Highly recommend

Rod Hathway 10/11/23

Awesome experience. Great value, super customer experience, ordered, assembled and picked up in 24 hours!

Dom K 06/11/23

Skip the big name brands and buy from Guy instead, 10/10 linak parts with a very well built tabletop.

Chris Wu 06/11/23

I purchased the edesk from Guy at Ergomotion. Guy was a pleasure to deal with and the desk arrived the next day. Guy was highly knowledgeable on the desk and provided very prompt support on the installation. I can highly recommend Ergomotion.