Standing Desks and Other Alternatives to Sitting All Day

standing desk for health

Many studies have concluded that sitting too much leads to a variety of health problems. For example, Dr. James A. Levine and other medical experts suggest via the Mayo Clinic and The Washington Post, that sitting causes a significant increase in risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

As I’ve discussed in this post, deaths from pulmonary embolisms after sitting for long periods are rising. Simply meeting exercise requirements doesn’t cancel out the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, either.

As more desk workers take notice of these developments, they are embracing standing desks and other alternative work stations. Is a standing desk right for you? Could it even improve your longevity? Take a look at the options available to get you off your behind.


Adjustable Standing Desk

Standing desks allow you to adjust the desk to your height with your keyboard at elbow level and monitor at eye level. They also allow you to switch from standing to sitting, so if any one position becomes uncomfortable, just switch. The downside is, adjusting an entire desk, especially with many objects on it can be awkward. Also, office visitors may not be your same height, making it more difficult to hold quick meetings at the desk.


Standing Desk Converter

You can make any surface into a standing desk with a standing desk converter. They’re portable, too, so if you get tired of one spot, you can move it to another. They tend to be somewhat bulky and heavy, so while you can move them, you may not want to. These usually range from around $200-$600.

The standing desk converter I recommend is called Varidesk.varidesk standing desk converter


Treadmill Workstation

As the most expensive of options, the treadmill desk promises the most exercise. It will also promise the most uneven experience while trying to work. Some users find it hard to type or write while walking. The noise also bothers some people. The noise problem can be overcome with headphones. You can adjust your speed, but usually to no more than four miles per hour.



Mini-ellipticals offer convenient exercising, which keeps your mind fresh. Like the treadmill, though, it can distract your focus from what’s on your desk to what’s under your desk. It also keeps you sitting, which we want to avoid. This does however, offer a more affordable option for desk exercises.


Balance Ball

Along with bean bag chairs, balance balls are a notorious joke for millennial office seats. They do (like the balance disc) develop your core with exercise. The balance ball chair takes the concept to the next level by providing stability so you won’t fall off as easily.

balance ball for work


Balance Disc

Balance discs strengthen your core when you sit. This helps ease back tension. Balance discs cost about $40-50. This may not be the best investment, especially since we really need to sit less!


Best Bets

The standing desk converter seems to offer the most options for most people. Still, you might want to try another option based on your own preferences.

Even if you use one of these alternative workstations, make sure you move around. Standing all day can also do a number on your knees and even your back, so it’s good to alternate positions and move when you can.

If you need to meet with someone, ask to walk while you talk. You can get a lot done and enjoy the outdoors for a breath of fresh air. It’s also free! Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stretch between tasks. Overall, increasing your physical activity — even during work hours — can contribute to good health.


Photo credits:

  • Jacob Lund /
  • Cube Corner® 36 /
  • Wavebreak Media Ltd /


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