Why Standing Doesn't Work

Rishabh R. Dassani:

The first and the most important reason standing doesn’t work is because it isn’t productive. Standing and working at the same time affects overall performance because you’re focusing on two things. Having to distribute your cognitive capacities between standing and working nullifies the benefits you might get from standing alone because only part of your mental resources are going toward your work, thus making you less productive in the end.

An interesting counter argument about standup desks. I disagree with it.

I’ve used a standup desk since 2008. For the first few years it was a standing-only desk. I now use a sit-stand desk. I usually stand between 20% and 40% of the day, although I’ve not timed it, so that’s just a reasonable guess. I don’t buy his conclusion that when standing I’m “focusing on two things.” Not sure how other people feel, but I don’t need to focus on standing. At all. I just stand, in much the same way as I just breath. There’s no need to “distribute cognitive capacities” because standing isn’t that kind of activity. The amount of cognitive load approaches zero anyway.

I choose to stand when I need to sort of “snap out of it” and get some work done. Arguments about how fast I move my mouse or the number of typos I make while standing don’t apply. I work better while standing, and I feel better while standing. Any health benefits are secondary, but I’ll take them!

Our forefathers didn’t use standing/walking desks and they did just fine.

If by “fine” you mean living to the ripe old age of 40 then sure.

I view standing desks and treadmill desks as fads, appearing frequently in the media. I don’t condone their use. Although I’ve never used either of these types of desks, I remain skeptical about them

I read that as, “I don’t like the idea of standup desks so they’re probably bad”. A complaint mentioned in the linked-to Cornell Study was that people didn’t use their sit-stand desks to stand. It’s true, if you don’t use it, you won’t see any benefits. Also, I’m not too concerned about varicose veins.

I’m being harsh. I didn’t intend to, but my gut reaction to what looked to be a weakly-presented dismissal of my beloved standup desk put me off. Normally I enjoy reading his site.

Complaints aside, the overall gist of the article seems perfectly sound:

 If you take nothing else from this three-part series, I want you to sit less than you sleep (<7 hours), and use that as the sole metric for sitting less and living a healthier/less-sedentary lifestyle.

Basically, don’t sit too much and don’t stand too much. That seems right to me. Also read his earlier posts about the problems with sitting.