We spend a lot of our day just … sitting.\nIf you work in an office, chances are that you’re sitting more than you’re moving around. Many studies suggest that sitting for long periods has a bad effect on your health, leading to obesity and poor posture. Can using a standing desk help?\nBenefits of Standing Desks\nStanding desks are exactly what they sound like \u2014 desks you can use while standing. Users typically stand during the workday, sometimes alternating sessions with seated breaks. Using a standing desk helps burn more calories than sitting at a desk \u2014 about 50 more per hour. Advocates of standing desks also say that they give users more energy and help productivity.\nOther reported benefits of standing desks include:\n\nBetter posture\nLess risk of diabetes or heart problems\nMore versatility\nImproved mood\n\nCritics of standing desks say that poor sitting posture means poor standing posture. Standing desks alone may not resolve this issue \u2014 they may only exacerbate back aches and stiffness in legs. Standing desks have also been known to worsen varicose veins. They’re also not recommended if you’re pregnant, as standing for long periods can lower your baby’s birth weight.\nIf you’re wondering whether to switch to a standing desk, it may depend on your type of job. If you’re constantly moving around, you may find a standing desk easier. If you’re doing long and detailed work like math, you may prefer to be seated.\nAcquiring a standing desk may require changes in your routine. If you plan on switching, keep in mind that you may have to:\n\nStop wearing heels or uncomfortable shoes\nBuy a mat to take pressure off of your feet\nWatch your posture more closely\nEase yourself into it by building up your time standing\n\n“While you are standing, you still need to keep computer screens at eye level to prevent more neck issues,” Kevin M. Wong, MD, Westmoreland Family Medicine \u2013 UPMC, said.\n“Keep repetitive hand motions below elbow height to decrease cervical strain.” If a standing desk causes strain on your body, you might not be positioned correctly.\nFor Good Health, Movement Is Key\nIn the end, standing desks are a matter of preference \u2014 some may find the benefits, while others may tire after standing for long periods.\nIt’s important to watch the amount of sedentary time during the day. For every hour of sedentary activity (standing or sitting), be sure to take a ten or fifteen-minute break by moving around. This will help you stay focused \u2014 and keep your body moving.\nOr, if you’re feeling really ambitious, try a treadmill or bicycle desk.\n“You could also get a small set of pedals to place under a desk,” Dr. Wong adds. “Any of these \u2014 a treadmill desk, pedals, or laptop exercise bike \u2014 could be linked to a laptop. See how much exercise you can get using these items!” You can buy these at some sports stores or online.\n“Can some smart IT person create an exercise bicycle with a laptop mount?” Dr. Wong said. “That would really be useful!”\nFor more information about staying healthy in an office job, check out UPMC HealthBeat’s article on staying active at work. For more information, or to find a primary care doctor, visit UPMC Primary Care on the web or call 1-855-676-8762.