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Sitting Down vs Standing Up - Which Is the Healthier Way to Work?

26 May 2022

Long eight-hour workdays can be difficult on the body, especially when spent sitting at a desk all day. Research has shown that mainly being sedentary throughout the day can have negative consequences on one’s health.

While most of us are accustomed to the typical desk and office chair set-up, there are other options that can help you be less sedentary at your job. Standing and moving while at work allows people to give their bodies a much-needed break from sitting.

Standing desks are an excellent option for achieving these movement goals and being less sedentary. And so, in this article, we will take a look whether sitting down or standing up while working is the healthier way to work.

Sitting Down

It is well known that a lifestyle that is too sedentary can put one at risk of problematic health issues. If you sit for an extended amount of time during your workday, this increases your chance of developing certain diseases and lower back pain. Remaining sitting for a while can also negatively affect your brain and can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Other adverse health impacts of sitting for prolonged periods include reduced blood flow to the legs and brain, lowered blood vessel health, a decrease in the ability to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and an increase in the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Standing Up

Most people will note that standing allows one to burn more calories than when they are sitting because more energy is being used to do the action. However, the difference is truly minimal. Standing will not help you lose weight or anything like that.

In fact, standing only burns around 9 calories more an hour than sitting at your desk does. With this being said, standing during your workday can reduce certain aches and pains that can come from sitting for too long, such as lower back pain.

Standing can also positively impact your overall mood and behaviour by allowing for proper blood flow and a slight boost in energy.

Even though standing provides some great benefits during your workday, too much standing is not necessarily good for your health either. If a person stands for too long during the day, they could develop aches and pains, swelling in the feet, and vascular issues.

Research has shown that standing for just two hours or more can cause fatigue and muscle cramps. For these reasons, standing all day is not really the answer either.

Which Is Healthier?

At the end of the day, standing does provide more health benefits and is, therefore, the healthier option. However, one should watch how much they are standing throughout the day, as too much standing can have negative health effects too.

A desk that allows for the option to sit or stand is the best choice because it provides a combination of both worlds. Standing throughout the day allows for muscle pain and neck pain to be relieved, a decrease in blood sugar spikes, and an increase in blood circulation.

A sit-stand desk will also promote movement breaks throughout the workday to keep you from sitting or standing for too long. Balance is needed to achieve the best and healthiest results.

Tips for Using a Standing Desk

When first using a standing-type desk, one should start with 30 to 60 minutes of standing and movement per day. Switching between sitting and standing on a regular basis will keep blood flowing and reduce muscle fatigue.

If needed, a timer can be set for 30 minutes so that movement breaks are not forgotten. It is also a good idea to invest in an anti-fatigue mat which will help ease the strain of standing. Some anti-fatigue mats also help with posture.


When considering whether sitting or standing is the healthiest way to tackle your workday at the office, a healthy balance of both is the best choice. While too much standing can cause negative health effects, sitting down for 8 hours or more is not ideal either.

Whether you choose to walk on calls, step out at lunch, or stand at your desk while replying to emails, ensure that you are not remaining sedentary throughout your workday. You can also try some seated exercises to keep you moving even while you are in your office chair.

Using a fitness tracker can help you easily stay on top of your movement goals. Remember, sitting is alright, as long as you ensure that you are taking standing or movement breaks throughout the workday.