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When Is Standing Too Much?

When Is Desk Standing Too Much?

The new craze in standing at your desk has many asking if standing is for them, and how long should they stand for? Does everyone need a standing desk?

I have had the opportunity to interview the CEO of Varidesk and the developer of another sit-to-stand option on my podcast The Modern Desk Jockey. They have provided my audience with some insights into the above questions.

Episode 11: The Standing Option with Varidesk

Episode 73: Stand-Up Desk Do’s and Don’ts’s with Daniel Angelini

As well, recently a study came out from The British Journal of Sports Recovery with the title of

“Associations of occupational standing with musculoskeletal symptoms: a systematic review with meta-analysis.”

The full Abstract can be found here:

The essence of the study’s findings are outlined in the objective and conclusion here:

Objective Given the high exposure to occupational standing in specific occupations, and recent initiatives to encourage intermittent standing among white-collar workers, a better understanding of the potential health consequences of occupational standing is required. We aimed to review and quantify the epidemiological evidence on associations of occupational standing with musculoskeletal symptoms.

Conclusions The evidence suggests that substantial occupational standing is associated with the occurrence of low-back and (inconclusively) lower extremity symptoms, but there may not be such an association with upper extremity symptoms. However, these conclusions are tentative as only limited evidence was found from high-quality, longitudinal studies with fully adjusted models using objective measures of standing.


The key takeaways from this study, the interviews I have performed, and our experience with desk standing are as follows.

  • You don’t NEED to have a stand-up option; you just need to move regularly. Check out my 6-Part Strategy for Healthy Desk Work



  • Standing too much can cause low back pain and leg pain.
  • Body is designed to sit and stand throughout the day. There are many ways to get your standing throughout the day without the need for a sit-to-stand option.
  • Sit-to-stand options can be useful and make the ability to stand more readily available. If you do have this options, here is what you need to look out to ensure proper utilization.
    • Most start at 15-20 mins within the hour in the beginning then it grows.
    • 4-6 hours per day after 30 days.
    • Start off slowly- taking breaks.
    • Listen to your body.
    • The flat surface and flat shoes (no heels!)
    • Weight distribution right below hips and arms at a right angle looking straight ahead and slightly down.
    • Don’t do continuous 8 hours of standing.