Sitting is bad for you. You know this. In fact, you’re probably tired of hearing it. Because sitting for long periods of time is more comfortable than standing. But that doesn’t make it any less true. The human body isn’t designed to remain stationary for very long, let alone for 8-to-10 (or up to 12) hours a day, as many people do at work. The result of all this sitting is, among other things, poor posture, a slowed metabolism, back pain, weak muscles, and poor circulation. The list goes on.
Specialized exercises, targeted stretches, and supportive pillows can help, but reducing the time you spend sitting is the best way to limit the physical toll of too much sitting. One of the best ways to combat the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day is to purchase a standing desk. The office furniture can help improve circulation, strengthen your muscles, reduce back pain, and increase your smugness by 45 percent.
Kidding about that last part. Sort of. But in all honesty, a standing desk is a useful accessory for any modern home office. That’s why we spoke to Colleen Logan of Icon Health and Fitness. Logan not only has a keen awareness of the standing desk field but she’s also a born-again standing desk-er. She spent years working at a regular desk before making the transition (“My body felt like I was taking a daily cross-country flight in coach,” she recalls.) If you’re looking to make the upgrade to a standing desk, here, per Logan, are five excellent options.
Varidesk ProDesk 60 Electric
With its crossbar design and commercial-grade steel construction, the ProDesk 60 Electric is the heaviest and sturdiest desk on the list. It’s a great fit for those with a dedicated home office. With the touch of a button, it shifts easily and quietly between programmable height settings between 25.5 and 50.5 inches, an important feature of any standing desk. “Make sure your desk has a wide range of heights,” Logan says. “If you are tall, make sure the desk goes high enough for you to stand and work without hunching over.”
NordicTrack Treadmill Desk Platinum
It might seem ridiculous. And it is. But it also isn’t. “Anything that brings movement and non-sitting position into your life is a step in the right direction,” Logan says of the NordicTrack Treadmill Desk Platinum. We loved it at slow speeds, which helped move the blood during the post-lunch slump, but maxing out at eight miles an hour, it could easily double as an after-hours workout partner. When not in use, the Platinum folds up and easily rolls out of the way. It also integrates with Google Streetview on your computer. You can load city profiles into the treadmill to simulate the inclines of Paris, Rome, and almost every other city around the world.
Uplift Space Saver
We loved the smaller Space Saver for apartment-dwellers and those with smaller home offices. Still, Logan recommends selecting a desk that has enough space for your laptop, phone, chargers, and other everyday use items. We found the 42-by-30-inch desktop is perfect for all but the most egregious paper-stackers. The pushbutton design, which raises the surface from 24 inches to 50 inches, is great for those whose commitment to a standing desk can vary by the day.
For those on the fence, there’s the Cora, a desk-topper that raises one’s computer to eye level and, when not in use, can be collapsed to less than two inches thick and tucked away. Some may prefer a bigger workspace than its 31-by-22-inch surface, but we found it spacious enough for more minimal projects. An optional laptop stand, which raises your screen to eye level, is available for an additional $70.
Let’s be honest, unless a doctor tells you you’ll be dead in a year if you don’t get a standing desk, many balk at dropping a grand on an untried piece of furniture. For Doubting Thomases, there’s the Spark, a cardboard-constructed desk-topper. Will this last you the rest of your life? Assuredly not. But it’s a surprisingly solid piece, with space for a keyboard and mouse, and the ability to support 25 pounds on its upper deck, which should be more than enough for most full-size desktops, including iMacs. Once you experience a strengthened core and better posture, as Logan did, you can upgrade to a more permanent piece.