Standing No More

I gave it my best shot using a standing desk. I built one which was ergonomically to my liking, and stopped all use of my chair at work cold turkey.

My standing desk with boehninglab daugher #3.

My standing desk after installation on October 7th 2012 with boehninglab daughter #3 being silly.

I have spent seven months exclusively standing, but my back in particular cannot take it anymore. My personal experience is as follows:


  • I don’t feel like a sloth sitting all day.
  • I might have burned a hundred or so extra calories a day.
  • I am pretty sure my hamstrings and calves have gotten bigger.


  • Despite claims to the contrary, my ability to focus is ten times worse at a standing desk.
  • My back is killing me by the end of the day.
  • For reasons not entirely clear, it is impossible for me to write a grant at a standing desk. With a June grant deadline approaching, I finally dismantled the thing.  All I can say is WHAT A RELIEF!

Maybe Pro, maybe Con:

  • Most people at your work will think you are insane.

So my experiment ends. To make up for the “Pros” above, I now take the stairs in my building (I reside on the 5th floor). I am interested to hear from any other standing advocates who actually gave up a chair for a significant amount of time, so please comment!


5 thoughts on “Standing No More

  1. Pingback: Links 9/30/14 | Mike the Mad Biologist

  2. been standing since, i think, march. i alternate standing and half-standing/half sitting on a tall stool with no back. my feet sometimes ache, and my back is more tired at the end of the day. but i don’t get the full-body aches i had before. i also tried to run up 6 flights of stairs every hour to break up my posture–but i am frequently too busy to do that…i have gotten very used to crunching data and writing while standing–absolutely need to adjust my monitor so it is high enough.

  3. I’ve been using a standing setup at work for about a year due to problems with my upper back and sitting all day. I sit for about 1/3 of my day when my lower back and/or legs begin to get stiff from standing for so long. I find that adopting a wider stance and standing straight works better for me, but I also recognize that many people have different back problems than I do, so YMMV.

  4. I see in the photo of your standing desk that there is no foot rest in place. If you didn’t use one, that’s likely why your (lower?) back hurt. I spent most of my career standing at, and bending over a drafting board for 8 hours a day. The board was fitted with a full width footrest. I also used a stool with no back as jw mentioned. When drawing I was standing. When reading, I was sitting. I never had back pain.

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