To Stand or Sit?

Does anybody here stand up to write?

As the survivor of an - ahem - ‘interesting’ cardiac arrest fifteen months ago, I’m keen to know.

Yes, I’ve read about him*

and I’ve seen devices such as this

which appear to be becoming increasingly popular.

But is standing up to write just a fad, designed to sell more expensive desks or devices to go on them?

So does anybody here have experience of actually standing up to write for hours at a time? If you have such experience, do you find that it’s healthier for you than sitting? And what do you use to give you the height at your desk?

I’d be very grateful indeed to hear any advice that anybody can give me.

*Plainly, he didn’t always stand up to write:

True, Comrade Hugh, true. He did a lot of scribbling in the boozer too :wink: … 19697.html Standing up to write, or do whatever it is that you do sat at a desk, is akin to periodic strolls up and down the aisle on long haul flights… init? :confused: To be sat on y’ arse all the time, ain’t not good, bro. Y’s need to get up and stretch 'em every so often. Even Leonardo walked away from the easle, now and again, and stood on his balcony, eying up the talent in the piazza below. :smiling_imp:

There is tons of bumph on t’internet, concerning the ergonomics of it all: correct posture etc. You ain’t supposed t’ stand all t’ time, either, that’s as bad a sitting on y’ arse all day.

Leaning on the bar, at y’ local, don’t count… sorry mate. :frowning:
Hope this helps.
Escritura feliz, mi amigo,

Tammy of Scrivener iOS fame uses a standing desk. There’s a link to an article she wrote about it in the LitnLat 8Qs interview if I remember correctly.

Thanks Vic.

As Ernest advised: “Write drunk. Edit sober.”

Thanks pf. Helpful piece by Tammy, and an interesting use for boxes of unsold copies of her book…

Edit: here, for those who are interested, is Tammy’s original article: … sk-3132201

I tried this last year, when I started to worry abut the possibility of deep-vein thrombosis from spending both my working day and my leisure time curled up on the sofa. A former colleague developed a DVT from commuting on a train a few years ago, which made me question my own seating arrangements.

I use a laptop, so it was very awkward to arrange a standing setup. The screen needs to be at the right height (sort of straight-ahead) when standing if you wish to avoid neck problems, so I had to balance the laptop on a box. Then, of course, the keyboard was too high to use with any semblance of reasonableness, so I bought a wireless keyboard to place lower down at keyboard height.

I can’t say the approach suited me, although this might be because (a) I am very lazy, and (b) I have arthritis in my toes and knees, which causes problems of its own when standing for long periods. There were other problems, too. I kept locking my knees so that they were bracing me in an upright position, which clearly is bad practice, but which I couldn’t seem to stop myself from doing. I found it very hard to concentrate when standing up like that, although I normally get locked into whatever I am doing for hours on end (which is what prompted the DVT anxiety in the first place). It was too easy to wander off and do other things (get coffee, look at the birds in the garden, search the kitchen for things to eat). And I just didn’t like it.

I do think there is something to be said for spending more time standing and less sitting, but on my first attempt it didn’t work for me. When I reverted (with relief) to sitting down again, I told myself that I would try the standing approach again sometime, but that time has not yet arrived.

I did once know someone who claimed to work standing up on one of those exercise ball things with a ring around it for standing on, like a model of Saturn, which supposedly was a cure for the knee-locking issue that I experienced. That way madness lies.

Thanks, Siren. Yours is the sort of personal experience that I’m eager to hear.

Of course this is the destination le plus ultra of the direction you’re describing:

I’m not sure that I could concentrate whilst riding that. :confused:

My old mate Leonardo, didn’t just walk away from his easel/canvas, in order to check out the talent in the piazza below. He realised at a very early age, that taking a break from a problem, meant you returned to it with a fresh eye, or p’haps viewed it from a slightly modified perspective. So…

…could, even if you wern’t aware of it, be of benefit to you. So whether you are walking away from a standing or sitting workstation, I suspect it would have a positive effect. So, walking away, for whatever reason, becomes Part1 of a three part work routine.

Part 2 work for an hour, hour and half, sat at your desk.
Part 3 work for an hour, hour and half, stood at you upright work station.
You don’t have to become anal, about how long spent sitting and standing. Let common sense and circumstance, be your guide.

If your working day is devoted to the churning out of words onto a screen/piece of paper, then it is worth your while to spend some time and effort, and cash, to create a correctly designed, sitting+standing work station for yourself.

Steps 2&3, liberally dispersed with Step 1 gives you the best of three worlds.

But, and it’s a big but. Unless the ergonomic/correct posture related criteria are adhered to, I doubt you are going to achieve any benefit from it. It could even prove detrimental.

If you want to go the whole hog, spend the working hours, nibbling at suitable healthy snacks, and spend your lunch break, say 12 noon till1pm walking a couple of miles.

I’ll be interested to hear how you cope with this, Hugh.
Best of luck

I sit to write, and stand and meander to think of what to write. Most days, my legs get more of a workout than my cheeks.

So y’re not very happy then… y’ don’t smile very much. :laughing: :blush: Sorry, it just slipped out

I had a healthy, efficient system worked out. Set a timer. Every hour, turn off the screen and leave the desk for ten minutes. Go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, take a walk around the block, re-organize junk in the basement. Stuff like that.

At my annual physical a couple years ago, when the VA doc was telling me to stay active, I described my plan. He said okay, but knock off every half-hour.

I wanted to say, “Work for only half an hour. Do you realize what it’s like to chase an idea?” Wanted to say it, but didn’t. He’s published four books and is working on a fifth.

So now I turn it off every 45 minutes, and move for 15. Can’t say it’s improved the writing, but I’ve lost ten pounds.

Discussed this issue with my kids. Verified earlier observations about differences between daughters and sons: As girls reach middle age, they want to correct my bad habits. As boys reach middle age, they want to share my bad habits.


Yeah, well, there are bad habits, and then there are BAD HABITS! :smiling_imp:

I’ve been using a standing desk at home for a while now. I do alternate between it and various sitting/reclining locations around the house, though, it’s not an all-or-nothing setup. If spent all day at home working on the computer, I’d probably alternate in 2 hour shifts. The biggest help for me avoiding back and leg pain while standing for hours is to practice tadasana from my yoga practice. The correct stance relieves strain on my lower back and keeps me from locking my knees, all while giving my legs a tiny work-out.

I use this desk: … ding-desk/.

I have a wireless keyboard and trackpad so that it’s easier to move to my sitting desk across the room, and if I rearrange things, I could move it next to some white boards that I have mounted behind my current sitting desk; being able to just step to the side and scribble on my marker board (or tack some note cards up on it) would really be nice.

I did standing for a long time. Most of that time I was doing 16hr days with no real “away from the desk” breaks so it was more about sanity. the thing that worked best for me was:

  1. mirrored monitors – one at sitting height and one at standing height.
  2. two keyboard – one at sitting station/height, one and standing station/height
  3. standing location separate from sitting location. Meaning I had to do more than just stand up to use the standing stuff.

Keep in mind I had 4 systems with multiple monitors so this was a bit more than moving a laptop. It should be pretty easy to with a laptop with a little thinking.

I found it to be productive for code generation and debugging. I tended to be more “creative” with coding while standing, but more precise with debugging while sitting. Which would mean writing while standing, edit while sitting in scrivener terms.

For the record, I put on 60lbs during those days… you’ll need more than just standing for exercise.

People overthink this all the time.

All you need is a balloon. Some helium. and some string. This is all the rage.

It is called


I’m back trying the “standing desk” approach again, as of yesterday. This time, I have bought a desktop contraption, similar to the one that Hugh posted at the top of this thread – actually, it is two contraptions: one for my laptop to sit on, and one for my wireless keyboard (set up at a lower height). There is room for my wireless mouse next to the keyboard.

My plan is to have a stint at the standing desk every hour or two, using it until the battery runs down on my laptop, then reverting to my usual curled-up-on-the-sofa position. I’ll let you know how it goes.

How do other standing desk users find it, now that some time has passed since the initial discussion here?

My wife has a sit/stand desk thing at work. I forget which brand - it’s one of those ones that sits on top of her existing desk and can be raised or lowered with a couple of levers (or something). Unfortunately, she got it right at the time when she shattered her kneecap, so her standing time has been fairly limited thus far.

She has reported that she finds it harder to think when standing, possibly because since the injury just standing/walking takes some mental effort. So when she needs to concentrate on something she has to sit back down. She works in research/project management, very brain intensive, so needing to concentrate happens often.

Meanwhile, I work at home and spend long hours sitting, so one of my goals is to start standing some of the time. We have a pub height table, so I think that should be a reasonable height for typing with a wireless keyboard, I just need to find a good sized box or something to put my iPad on so I’m not staring downwards all day.

Edit: scratch needing to find a box. Somehow I totally forgot that I already bought a tripod mount for the iPad. So I’ll just put the tripod on the table and that should work fine. Hmm, guess I’d better actually try that out one of these days.

I splurged on the Ikea motorized sit/stand desk, a 4-port DisplayPort/USB KVM, a 34" curved Dell monitor, and a bolt-on monitor arm. All four of my systems (work Lenovo laptop with dock, personal ham/electronics Lenovo laptop with dock, personal Surface Pro 3 with dock, and Mac mini) support DisplayPort, so the KVM allows me to switch between all four systems and share the same pro gaming keyboard and ultra-wide Dell monitor. As the desk includes some rudimentary cable management, I have everything wired and attached to the desk so only the two power distribution cords need to be long enough to go up and down with the desk.

I don’t stand at it nearly as often as I should, but it’s very comfortable and usable when I do. Using the monitor to make sure my screen is ergonomically correct in relation to the keyboard and mouse is the key – I would not be able to do it relying on just the screens on my laptops.

My own intentions stalled. I have one of the devices that I illustrated in my first post - but it’s really not tall enough for me to stand. So I looked carefully at investing in a Varidesk - not inexpensive, but if the experts and not just the standing-desk marketeers are right and it encourages your heart to go on ticking just a little bit longer… Then Real Life and Other Priorities intervened. But it’s still an intention…

Varidesk - that sounds familiar. Pretty sure that’s the one the wife has. IIRC she has the ProPlus 36.

Looking at their site, I see they also have a variety of anti-fatigue and activity mats for standing on. One of those (or something like it) might be a good idea as well.