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Standing desks are becoming increasingly more common — and for good reason. As more and more people find themselves sitting at a desk all day, their concerns about potential health risks 5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy 5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy Working on the computer may sound like the most relaxed job in the world, but it's quite the contrary. It's very tough on your body, which is not used to this modern type of work.... Read More  increase. I found myself in this exact situation – sitting at a computer all day. And despite keeping an active lifestyle, sitting for long periods of time 4 Serious Health Issues From Sitting Too Long & How To Avoid Them 4 Serious Health Issues From Sitting Too Long & How To Avoid Them When you work at any job that requires long hours sitting at a computer - programming, accounting, writing - it is very easy to stay in that one position for eight to nine working hours... Read More  still causes problems.

So, I set out to build a sitting/standing workstation, and upon doing so, discovered several necessary things a standing desk owner should do and have. Whether you plan to buy or build a standing desk How To Build A Cheap Standing Desk From Ikea, And What It's Like To Use How To Build A Cheap Standing Desk From Ikea, And What It's Like To Use There's a current craze emerging for standing desks, literally desks that you stand at while working. Having spent the last five years as a self-employed freelance writer who spends most of his days sat at... Read More , or if you already have one, a standing desk isn’t the only thing you need to improve your health in the office.

Comfortable Supportive Shoes

2 shoe

You might be tempted to just use your everyday work shoes that you wear to the office (when you sat at a desk), or if you’re at home, bare feet or slippers. When standing for hours, though, your body relies on your feet, thus proper support is crucial for your overall health. Just like proper posture when sitting The Basics Of Good Office Posture: An Animated Guide The Basics Of Good Office Posture: An Animated Guide We've said it before, sitting too long kills you. Working a nine to five job in an office, sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day, while staring at a computer screen isn't exactly... Read More is important, proper standing is important, and supportive shoes help this tremendously. Running/walking shoes will provide the most support, although those vary as well. The =a=Skechers Men’s Afterburn ($44) (above) seems like an all-around good shoe for standing. Women might want to consider the Skechers Keystone ($49.99) (below).

2.1 shoe 2

Anti-Fatigue Mat

Have you ever noticed your feet aching after standing for a long time? It may not even be that you were standing for too long, but rather than your feet are fatigued by the hard surface. Granted, comfortable and supportive shoes can help this tremendously, but you also need an anti-fatigue mat. I used a standing desk for some time without one (despite knowing one was recommended) and once I did purchase one, the difference was incredible and increased my comfortable standing time.

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When choosing a mat, you of course want to keep within a budget but don’t fall for buying a cheap mat – durability is key when you’re stepping all over it! There are a couple mats I recommend.

Genuine Joe Anti-Fatigue Mat ($20)

3 genuine joe

I personally own the Genuine Joe anti-fatigue mat and have been very satisfied with it. Though it is on the inexpensive side, after five months of use, it’s proven durable – even despite being accidentally rolled over with an office chair from time to time (not recommended). It’s 3/8 inches thick, which provides plenty of cushion, 2 feet wide by 3 feet long, has no-curl edges, and comes constructed from vinyl foam with a ribbed surface for traction. It does collect dirt, dust and pet hair (it’s on the floor!), but is easy to clean.

Imprint Culumus9 Kitchen Mat Nantucket Series (around $35)

3.1 imprint

I don’t have any personal experience with the Imprint series, but it has accumulated excellent reviews on Amazon (90% on FakeSpot), appears very durable and comes with a 7-year warranty. Prices vary by color and size, but for a 20 inch wide by 36 inches long mat, which should be enough for most workstations, you can expect prices between $45 and $60, only dependent upon color.

Step stool

4 stepstool

If you ever pay attention to how you stand, you might notice that you occasionally change positions. As stated previously, good posture while standing is important. A step stool can add some variety when placing one foot on it, taking the pressure off of the parts of your feet that bear the majority of your weight.

A great option for this is the Kikkerland Rhino Easy Fold Step Stool (pictured above). It’s versatile enough for other uses, in addition to being used at your desk, and can easily fold up for quick storage, all while coming at an affordable price point of around $12.

Foam Roller

Foam rollers can be used a countless number of ways for exercises, but one that you might not have thought of is using one to stand on while at your desk. Obviously, this isn’t something you’d do for long periods of time, but like the step stool, it can offer some rest, and even provide you with a bit of a work out.

There are several kinds of foam rollers, but you want high-quality and extra firm ones (so that they don’t get out of shape after standing on them). Below are a few that I recommend, all which are extra-firm and durable, but range from smooth to rigid surfaces. The prices of these also vary by size, but for the purpose of using at a standing desk, I selected the longer variation.

Black High Density Foam Rollers ($13.50)

5 foam roller

This “no name” foam roller has a smooth surface, will not lose shape even with heavy use, is great for balancing, and measures 36 inches long.

The Grid 2.0 by Trigger Point Performance ($39.99)

5.1 the grid

The Grid 2.0 is capable of heavy and repeated use without breaking down with a weight capacity of 600 pounds (272 kg). It measures 26 inches long and has some elevated texture.

Rumbleroller Deep-Tissue Massage Roller (from $44.95)

5.2 rumbleroller

For more of a massage feeling, the Rumbleroller has elevated knob-like fingers and features a tear-resistant material. It measures 31 inches at length and has an extra firm surface.

NOTE: There are two options available in the dropdown menu: extra-firm (black) or original density (blue). For standing on, the extra-firm model is recommended.

Mini Elliptical Trainer

6 elliptical at desk

The problem with most elliptical trainers is that they take up a ton of room, which offices generally don’t have. The other problem with traditional elliptical trainers is that you have to step away from your desk in order to use them. And while stepping away from time to time is definitely recommended, a mini elliptical trainer offers the advantage of being able to move and work simultaneously.

Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer ($89.98)

6.1 mini elliptical

The In-Motion Elliptical Trainer by Stamina can be used while sitting or standing. It’s compact and lightweight, making it very portable and perfect for any office space.

Treadmill/Bicycle Trainer

7 bike trainer at desk 1

Having a treadmill or bicycle trainer at a standing desk certainly won’t work for everyone, they take up much more room, and the treadmill especially isn’t something that can be easily moved out of the way and stored when not wanted. However, if you have ability and want to walk or bike while working, these are excellent solutions.

7.1 treadmill desk

You can buy an entire treadmill desk setup, such as the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Desktop Treadmill ($1,499), pictured above, or you could resort to a website like Instructables and follow guides such as these by “cessenburg” and “ewilhelm“. If you don’t need a desk, and don’t have an existing treadmill to modify, you might consider purchasing the LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Standing Desk Treadmill ($999).

7.2 bicycle trainer

If you’re into cycling, then a trainer might be more your style. If you don’t know much about them, I recommend learning about how to choose an indoor bike trainer. One company, called Kickstand Furniture, has set out to build desks specifically for this.

7.3 bike trainer at desk 2

For more exercise ideas, take a look at Tim Brooke’s article featuring 6 must-see exercise videos 6 Must-See Exercise Videos For Those Of Us Who Spend Most Of The Day Sitting [Stuff to Watch] 6 Must-See Exercise Videos For Those Of Us Who Spend Most Of The Day Sitting [Stuff to Watch] Poor posture, not enough breaks and sedentary office behaviour can all have serious implications in the long-term. This week’s Stuff to Watch focuses on a variety of techniques that can reduced the chances of an... Read More .

Supportive Chair

8 supportive chair

Wait, a chair for a standing desk? Yes, and let me explain why. One of the biggest misconceptions (I think) that people have about standing desks is that they stand at them all the time. But from what I’ve found, this isn’t good either. Our bodies aren’t meant to do that (especially with very little movement). The solution is a combination of sitting and standing, thus your standing desk should allow for both.

There is actually a science to what to look for in the perfect office chair What To Look For In The Perfect Office Chair What To Look For In The Perfect Office Chair It is absolutely crucial to pick the right office chair. The decision over which to buy shouldn't be taken lightly, especially if you're going to be spending several hours of each day sitting on the... Read More , and it’s something to take seriously, as you’ll be spending a lot of time in it. Upon searching for a chair to recommend, I discovered the Air Grid chair by Office Star ($164), pictured above. And it just so happens to be the first on Matt Smith’s list of the best office chairs you can buy right now The 5 Best Office Chairs You Can Buy Right Now The 5 Best Office Chairs You Can Buy Right Now A good chair is an office worker's best friend. The best office chairs in the market are just a click away, and some of them are more affordable than you may have guessed. Read More .

Footrest

9 demonstrating footrest

Whether you’re sitting, or standing a footrest, much like a footstool, can be useful to ease the pressure off your feet. Do you need both a footrest and a footstool? Probably not. I recommend you decide which one fits your needs better.

Kensington Solemate Comfort Footrest ($41.31)

9.1 footrest

The Kensington Solemate can adjust from 3.5 to 5 inches high and at an angle up to 30 degrees. It’s easy to adjust with a foot pedal and has a memory foam that cushions the foot.

Fellowes Compact Foot Rocker ($17.93)

9.2 foot rocker

The foot rocker isn’t specifically for a footrest, but it can be one, while keeping blood flowing through your legs. It’s compact design allows it to be used in even the most compact workspaces Short on Space? Try These Compact Home Office Desks! Short on Space? Try These Compact Home Office Desks! When I grew up, my mom was self-employed and had her own home office with a large desk in the basement. Meanwhile my dad, who had a regular job, turned the broom closet into a... Read More . It can also be used on either side for multiple heights.

Stand-Up Chair

10 standing task chair

This is a fairly new concept, but a very exciting one. Currently there are a few ideas or products available, but not a highly competitive market. One that caught my eye, is called the Standing Task Chair and was actually a Kickstarter project. Unfortunately, its funding was unsuccessful and they haven’t revealed where they plan to go. But the product is great and revolutionary. I encourage all standing desk owners to keep an eye our for what happens next with the Standing Task Chair.

Tablet, Laptop, And/Or Monitor Mounts

11 Desk with mounts

Whether you have a laptop, tablet, monitor (or multiple monitors) or a combination of them, being able to mount them is a huge advantage with a standing desk for a few reasons.

#1. Creates More Work Area

Sure, you might use your computer most of the time while at your desk, but being able to quickly move things around and out of the way to make room for other work is very nice.

#2. Allows For A Cleaner Workspace

There’s nothing more demotivating than a cluttered, unorganized and messy desk – I have to clean it before I get any real work done. Having mounts for various devices allows your tech to be moved easily out of the way to create a far more organized look.

#3. Promotes Better Posture (this is an important one)

One problem many encounter when trying to improve their posture is the inability to move their screen, thus they continue to look at it from the wrong angle. This is especially common with tablets, which actually have their own set of health risks The Health Hazards Of Tablet Use [INFOGRAPHIC] The Health Hazards Of Tablet Use [INFOGRAPHIC] I've never really thought about this until now, but if you use a tablet extensively, you have to watch how you're seated when you're using it. Just like how you sit in front of a... Read More . Mounts allow you to move the screen in any way to conform to how you want to sit or stand, as opposed to you conforming your body to where the screen is positioned.

In addition, mounts allow you to have a sit/stand desk, instead of just one or the other because they can be so easily moved to various positions.

Gator G-ARM 360-DESKMT Mountable Arm ($159.99)

11.1 Gator G-ARM 2

When researching mounts for all kinds of devices, the Gator G-ARM stood out due to it’s compatibility with laptops, tablets and monitors – yes, all three! The mount comes with a cable management system and a table clamp that can be easily relocated, if necessary. The height of the mount can be adjusted and the arm allows for all kinds of positions for your devices. Below is a video about setting up the Gator G-ARM mount, which effectively shows all of it’s features in the process.

If you’re looking for a device-specific mount, below are three other options:

Not So Much An Accessory, Rather A Tool: A Timer

12 timer

A timer isn’t something that you necessarily have to buy. There are a lot of apps for phones 6 Beautiful, Interesting & Versatile Timer Apps [Android] 6 Beautiful, Interesting & Versatile Timer Apps [Android] Time - it passes. Whether we like it or not, time’s inexorable progress cannot be stopped. So the least we can do is measure it, right? This morning I went in search of interesting Android... Read More , as well as on the web 10 Different Types Of Online Timers For Everyday Stuff 10 Different Types Of Online Timers For Everyday Stuff Read More and even your desktop 3 Tools To Remind Yourself To Take A Break & Relax While Working At The Computer 3 Tools To Remind Yourself To Take A Break & Relax While Working At The Computer Working on the computer may not be very physical, nevertheless it's tough on your body. If you are damned to spend your working hours behind a desk, you had better find ways to do something... Read More that will suffice. But you should have a timer if you’re working at a standing desk. Why? Well, if you’re anything like me, you probably get lost in your work 10 Websites That Will Help Drown Out The Noise So You Can Stay Focused 10 Websites That Will Help Drown Out The Noise So You Can Stay Focused Do you find yourself constantly distracted by everything going on around you and having a hard time concentrating on what you're doing? The solution is noise-cancelling headphones. Whether you're in a café with a crying... Read More and find yourself sitting (or even standing) for far too long without adjusting your position. A timer keeps you be aware of how much time you’re standing in a certain position, by breaking up your work into intervals. It also acts as a reminder to take the appropriate breaks Take A Break: 10 Websites To Help You Relax For Two Minutes Take A Break: 10 Websites To Help You Relax For Two Minutes It's incredibly important to take the time to relax occasionally. It doesn't do anyone any good to constantly be ON, to be working, to be stressed by the rigors of everyday life. In the same... Read More for workouts or just getting away from the screen for a bit.

The Takeaway: It’s More Than JUST Standing

I would like to re-emphasize that one should not only have a standing desk, but to alternate between sitting and standing. Also, just because you have a standing desk doesn’t mean you’re immune to all posture-related problems. I encourage you speak with a doctor and research how to transition to a standing desk From Sitting To Standing While Typing: Why You Need To Change Your Working Habit From Sitting To Standing While Typing: Why You Need To Change Your Working Habit Writing full-time keeps me sitting at a desk nearly eight hours a day. My office chair is not one of those Lexus ergonomic models designed to take away the pain of sitting, and though I’ve... Read More and best setup needed for you.

Do you have a standing desk? What accessories and tips have you found most helpful? If you’re still on the fence about whether to go with a standing desk, what are your concerns? Feel free to share and we’ll be happy to try and help clear up any questions you might have.

Image Credits: Standing Desk by everydaypants via Flickr, New standing desk setup by aarongustafson via Flickr, Timer at 0 by numb3r via Flickr, Woman using elliptical at desk and woman using footrest at desk via Anthro, Bicycle trainer standing desk setups via Kickstand Furniture, Standing Task Chair via Kickstarter

  1. Peter
    September 30, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Hey, I bought an ergonomic, vertical mouse some time ago but hurt my wrist some time ago as the desk I was using was tilting downwards lightly. Now that I bought a standing desk I wonder if it's still recommended to use a vertical mouse?

    Thanks,
    Peter

  2. Justin J
    January 17, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    One thing I've found to relieve the lower back tension from standing is taking a quick break to do some crunches or a few yoga poses. This greatly extends my stand times and helps remind my body that good standing posture is in your stomach muscles, not your back.

  3. JCDenton
    April 19, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Pretty ironic that Mr. COUCH, this blog's author, is telling the internet how to stand at your desk ;-)

    Good advice though. Probably gonna substitute a mini stepper instead of elliptical trainer, coz that's all i can find on amazon. Either way, the up down movement of my whole body may mess with my pc gaming precision. Guess i'll have to use that during breaks or watchin' tv

  4. dragonmouth
    December 31, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    No matter how ergonomic they may be, stand up desk are not for everybody. For example, I am not able stand for more than 15 minutes. Then my back tightens up to the point that I am barely able to walk. I am sure there are others in my predicament.

    • Dave
      April 8, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      dragonmouth, with a true sit/stand workstation like this: https://healthpostures.com/products/taskmate-go-6300/ it is very easy to stand for 5-10 minutes and quickly be in a very ergonomic sitting position. After doing that for a while, you may even be able to start extending your standing times.

      I agree with the author, standing all the time is not the answer either but having the ability to sit or stand on command is very healthy for your body and provides you with that much needed boost of energy!

    • Aaron C
      April 8, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      Dave,

      That's exactly the point I was making in the article. Thank you for highlighting that and sharing your expertise!

  5. David Hopkinson
    December 31, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Saw report on research suggesting standing desk is not necessary. You need only to stand for 2 minutes minimum every hour to avoid the problems of sitting for too long. "Pester" is an app for the Mac that alerts at defined intervals - say, 59 minutes - with an alarm or message and can be set to repeat. It is annoying to be interrupted, but that's the point, isn't it?

  6. Conroy Schultz
    December 31, 2013 at 10:24 am

    A chair :D

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