Our Experiment in Ditching Our Desk Chairs

Newly linked to diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer, sitting for long stretches of time can take a toll on the body. Two MORE editors ditch the desk chair and discover the benefits for themselves

by Deanna Pai and Laynie Rose
Photograph: varidesk.com

Note: The opinions below are our own. We were not asked to review VariDesk, and we did not receive any products free of charge.

When I told my office building’s manager that I was interested in a standing desk setup, he warned me that standing was nothing more than the latest installment in a long line of workplace fads. I persisted—I’m a habitual early-morning runner, and I blamed my post-workout stiffness on endless hours of sitting. That’s when he introduced me to the VariDesk.

The perks of standing were evident immediately—the stiffness in my legs disappeared, and I didn’t suffer my usual 4 p.m. slump. But I didn’t discard my desk chair entirely, and researchers say that’s for the best: Like prolonged sitting, too much standing can also pose health risks. Instead, I decided simply to stand when I wanted to stand, and sit when I didn’t. My incredibly unscientific experiment led to an interesting discovery: I consistently tackled more demanding tasks—writing book reviews, updating tedious spreadsheets and proofreading pages for errors—while standing. When I turned to more passive tasks, like thumbing through a novel or updating my to-do list, I sat down.

As soon as I realized both my body and my level of productivity benefitted from standing, I was hooked. My prediction: This is one fad that's here to stay.

by Laynie Rose, assistant editor

I'd been interested in getting a standing desk since reading an article about "Sitting Disease," concerning the detrimental effects (obesity, heart disease, certain types of cancer) of being sedentary all day long. Worse, I learned my daily gym session would do little to counteract the damage of sitting. But I didn't know how I could possibly replace my cubicle with a new, taller contraption; instead, I made an effort to interrupt myself every hour with a walk around the office.

One day, I wandered by Laynie's adjustable standing desk. I was immediately curious—and envious. I sat so much during my day—in cabs to and from events, at lunches and in meetings, while reading at home—that I felt like the poster child for sitting disease.

My new standing desk is a little bulky—and my desk will never look as neat or organized as it once did—but it's worth it. When I return from a big press breakfast or lunch, I never have the desire to curl up in my chair or nap (an effect chocolate French toast will absolutely have). I'm no longer wracked by guilt if I don't make it to the gym in the morning. And the benefits are real: My posture has improved, and so has the quality of my sleep. I love my standing desk so much that it'll be something I take with me, no matter the workplace. Consider me converted.

by Deanna Pai, associate beauty editor

Next: Three New Ways to Sleep Better

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