Is Using Standing Desks Really Good for Your Health?

I have been a big fan of using standing desks for a long time. It was 2014 when I first set up my standing desk; it was with cardboard on the shelf. It was my first iteration to test out a new work style while programming. That worked like a charm. I really love the idea of "getting healthy" while working, and then standing while working has been a new norm for me.

Then the covid came. I had still been using standing desks, but at the time, almost full weekdays; 5 days every week.

Before the covid, I occasionally went to the office where I sat in a chair while working. Due to the covid, at first, I thought I had more chances to get fit while working 5 days at home.

The truth is, I felt more exhausted due to this change. I thought something wrong was going on. I decided to do some research to go back to keep my productivity.

What does science evidence say?

After doing some research, I came accross one interesting paper.

Evidence of Health Risks Associated with Prolonged Standing at Work and Intervention Effectiveness

Long story short; I stand too long hours, being still, without dynamic movement.

This paper is mainly focused on nurses and other industries where employees have to stand long hours, but also applies to office workers who love standing desks and do not hesitate to stand for a few hours.

prolonged standing effectively reduces the blood supply to the muscles resulting in the acceleration of the onset of fatigue and causes pain in the muscles of the legs, back and neck, as well as pooling of blood in the legs and feet which leads to varicose veins

This paper is not saying that standing is bad either - so the key here is "dynamic movemenent". AFAIU sticking to either sitting or standing could lead to healh issues.

prolonged standing without dynamic movement, even for periods as short as 30 minutes, leads to physical fatigue, discomfort, and pain in several body regions. It is also apparent that age affects how individuals respond to prolonged standing.

Some ideas to reduce pressure again legs are discussed, and standing mats are one of them. I have been interested in buying mats for a year so this paper drives me to try them out.

The use of floor mats and shoe inserts during prolonged standing compared to prolonged standing on hard surfaces has been evaluated as an intervention procedure to reduce symptoms of discomfort, muscle pain, leg swelling, and tiredness.

Action Items

After reading this paper, I decided to sit occasionally and also even bought a standing desk mat to alleviate pressure.

I also bought a floor mat, "FLEXISPOT Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat", as suggested in the paper. I have been using this floor mat for the last few months. It works great.

FLEXISPOT Standing Desk Anti-Fatigue Mat


It was exciting to update my "common sense" that "standing is good for your health". Keep moving, instead of keep standing (or sitting) for a long time. The key is a dynamic movement. Go outside, get your move.

Do your research. Update your common sense often. Don't be blind.