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Make A Standing Desk Your New Year’s Health And Fitness Resolution

About a decade ago, the anti-sitting movement kicked into high gear, and after hearing that “sitting was the new smoking,” and reading an article in now defunct Men’s Journal magazine titled “Sitting: The Most Unhealthy Thing You Can Do,” I decided to try a standing desk, which were coming into vogue at the time.

That was 2015, and the following year Harvard Medical School’s health publishing website posted an article, The Truth Behind Sanding Desks, that noted the proven negatives of sitting, and wrote “long hours of sitting are linked with a higher risk of obesity; diabetes; cardiovascular disease; cancer (especially cancers of the colon or breast) and premature death.” As an added bonus, “standing, rather than sitting, may reduce the risk of shoulder and back pain.”

Much more recently (three months ago), WebMD wrote of people who use standing desks at work: “did you know they’re lowering their risk for heart disease, obesity, and back and neck pain, too? Studies have linked sitting a lot to these and other health problems. Even people who exercise most days face health risks if they sit too much. Standing desks raise your computer high enough for you to work and stand at the same time. This keeps you on your feet for more of the day.”

I was an early adopter, and after nearly nine years of intermittent standing (almost all experts recommend breaking up your day into periods of sitting and standing, not just standing for hours), I remain a fan. Many of the medical benefits, such as avoiding cardiovascular disease, cancer or premature death cannot be easily perceived or directly attributed to the standing, but I have definitely felt that my legs were stronger for things like skiing even as I have gotten older, and while I used to occasionally have bouts of back pain, that has been totally absent in my life for pretty much the entire time I have been standing.

I feel strongly enough about this that I recently got my wife a standing desk (she already had one at her office, but post-pandemic went fully remote), and just bought my brother one as a Christmas gift.

Since so many people have recently shifted to remote offices or work from home (WFH), and this is the time of year when so many people try to make changes in their lives for the better with assorted health and fitness-related New Year’s Resolutions, I thought I would revisit this topic and suggest at least considering a standing desk. Besides all the proven benefits, there is one other big advantage–it’s just about the easiest resolution to keep. Diets and overly ambitious workout routines are unlikely to stick, but standing for 15-20 minutes per hour is really easy to do–once you get a desk.

Initially I got a manual version, but I’ve learned that a motorized one is a far better choice, more likely to be used regularly, and they’ve become much more affordable. While there are standing-only desks for the most obsessed, the standing desks I’m talking about raise up at the push of a button, and vice versa, go back down when you’re ready to sit. They are easy to use, and the commitment is minimal.

After much research I chose FlexiSpot, basically because the company’s products got consistently good reviews and awards and was the best value I could find, with very reasonable prices for motorized models, lots of size and style options, and extras like handy USB ports built in, a great accessory since you have to plug in a motorized desk anyway. Their cheapest motorized model, the E2, can be had for just $160 (synthetic top) and was named the Best Lower-Priced Standing Desk by the Wall Street Journal. Tom’s Guide wrote, “The FlexiSpot EC1 rose and lowered itself as smoothly as other standing desks I tested, and felt just as stable at its maximum height,” concluding that “The FlexiSpot EC1 Standard Standing Desk is the one to buy if you’re shopping on a budget.” (The EC1 is now the E2, the same model the Journal picked).

One of my favorite gear review websites, TechRadar, did a more comprehensive rating of “Best Standing Desks in 2023” and picked the FlexiSpot E7 best overall, “a quality heightadjustable desk with a competitive price tag.” They also picked the E5 as best Cheapest Desk. Likewise, USA Today wrote “the FlexiSpot E7 is a high-quality, height-adjustable desk with plentiful customization options. It has an electric motor that powers the desk to move vertically. The desk’s control panel allows you to store up to four heights, so the desk adjusts to your preferred position with the touch of a button…All in all, we think the FlexiSpot E7 is one of the best standing desks on the market right now.”

I went with the newest model, the E7Pro, which has higher weight rating (440 pounds, more than I need but I do use multiple monitors, a desktop and keep way too much clutter on my desk), 3-stage telescoping legs (goes up and down faster than the 2-part legs on cheaper models) and a longer 15-year warranty. It is currently on sale from $430 (chipboard) to $470 (solid wood) to $550 (bamboo with wireless charging) depending on surface material. The E7 is also offered in an L-shaped version, and the top-of-the-line Q8 ($650) adds drawers (mine is just a tabletop).

Oddly, I also got myself an office chair, which is the opposite of the whole idea of a standing desk, but since I still sit for half the day or more, I wanted something more ergonomically designed, Because CNET picked the FlexiSpot C7 as the best 2023 model with headrest and the company was having a sale bundling desks and chairs, I got one and have been very happy with it, to the point where maybe I need to stand more! It’s also about a third of the price of the highly rated but four-figure Steelcase chairs I was looking at. Stay healthy in the coming year.

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