Why you should get a standing desk (Part 1).

Standing Desk Product Recommendations:

1) Desk: I have the adjustable height Dual Kangaroo from Ergo Desktop ($599) – made in USA. There are dozens of brands and types of desks out there. When narrowing down my choices in February 2013, I considered the Ergotron Workfit which is a mount, but in the end I chose the more portable Kangaroo, which sits on top of my regular desk. It required less hardware and work/drilling holes in the wall.

Emily Binder at Dual Kangaroo standing desk

I’ve adopted my own yogilates pose over time with one leg bent at the knee resting on the desk. I switch legs about every five minutes. Just keep your spine straight and the rest will follow.

The Dual Kangaroo is great for a laptop and monitor setup or for two monitors. Be sure to use the included stability leg to reduce wobbling. (The attentive Ergo Desktop customer care team actually tweeted me this tip after noticing this picture I posted of the desk sans leg.) The obvious benefit of an adjustable height desk is that it allows for postural changes throughout the day. There are times you’ll want to sit – that’s okay. I rarely lower my desk but it’s nice to have the option.

Kangaroo and similar brands like VARIDESK, UpLift and Ergo Depot have models for different laptop/computer combinations. thehumansolution.com has a good selection of well-priced desks and free shipping over $85. (The Human Solution also accepts BitCoin because they are awesome.) A coworker recently ordered the Kangaroo Pro (mount style) for a single monitor (the Pro Junior is good for smaller monitors) – well done, RD! Some Kangaroo desks use VESA mounts for your monitor while others use shelves (what I have and prefer for its flexibility).

  • Explanation of the differences
  • Tool to assist with measurements for your standing desk
  • Tammy Coron at creativebloq has more tips about measuring and posture

A few more standing desk recommendations if the Kangaroo line is not for you:

a. Electric adjustable desk: The UpLift 900 ($769) has received excellent reviews (LA Times). Lifehacker named it the #1 standing desk (check out Lifehacker’s February 2014 top five standing desks – if you order one off this list, you’ll be set). “If you want a standard size desk with brilliant height adjustability, the UpLift 900 is perfect for you.” The motor allows easy switching between sitting and standing. See video reviews of the UpLift 900.

b. Walking desk/treadmill desk: Check out the TrekDesk ($549 as of 10/26/16):

You can burn an extra 2.6-3.6 calories per minute depending on incline (156-216 extra per hour). I’ve read that your typed WPM decreases as walking speed increases, and Business Insider‘s Alyson Shontell reports that her treadmill desk experiment decreased productivity due to dividing attention across work and physical movement (but she ultimately had fairly positive takeaways). If you are a klutz and multitasker, walking while working could be problematic. I like the idea of it overall though. Read Danny Sullivan’s treadmill desk review. Sullivan uses the LifeSpan desk, specifically the TR1200-DT7.

c. Light duty electric desk: If you work from a laptop and only need the standing desk for a few hours a day: Ergo Depot AD17 Adjustable Height Desk (normally $749, on sale for $549 at time of this posting)

d. DIY: The famous $22 Ikea standing desk: The Standesk 2200.
Also check out Anjelika Temple’s creative suggestions on Brit + Co: ten DIY standing desk ideas. This includes a nicer but still affordable Ikea solution: The Floating Corner Desk (from $178).

e. (Pretty) affordable height adjustable monitor stand and keyboard tray: VARIDESK Pro ($300)

keyboard and monitor height diagram for standing desk postureTry it first! Note: Please experiment with a DIY standing desk for at least two months before purchasing furniture. Try using cardboard boxes and old yellow page phone books or paper reams to prop up your monitor, keyboard and mouse at proper ergonomic height on top of your existing desk. It will be ugly but it’s for testing. Make sure you can commit to this lifestyle.

2) Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat for standing desk: A good, thick, high-quality shock-absorbent floor mat is crucial. You spend most of your life at work (and soon, on your feet). Invest in your health and comfort. I have been quite pleased with the $75 Rhino Mat Pyra-Mat Anti Fatigue Mat (free shipping at Ergo Depot). Don’t skimp on the floor mat, and don’t venture into standing without one. Read the fine print: you should have a sponge thickness at least 3/4-7/8″ thick (1/2″ won’t cut it). The mat I have comes with optional custom logos. If you’re a manager and have employees who stand all day (e.g., at a service desk or counter) surprise them with these mats and you will be amazed at their gratitude and improved morale.

Update 10/26/16: Read my review of Ergodriven’s Topo mat, inspired by natural terrain and meant to keep you moving as you stand.

3) Compression Socks, Stockings or Hose: You’ll read warnings that standing all day may result in varicose veins or spider veins. Well, sitting on your expanding rear can do the same and worse. Don’t let these naysayers scare you. They’re getting cancer or diabetes. Varicose veins are often genetic and can be exacerbated by pregnancy or various activities or lack thereof. Help prevent their onset/worsening by investing in several pairs of compression socks or compression hose.* See compression socks infographic.

Ergonomically designed socks have a gradient compression to help drive blood back from feet to heart and achieve the goal of reducing swollen legs and promoting blood flow.

Nabee Socks graduated compression therapy diagramRunners use compression socks to increase circulation and reduce lactic acid buildup. Frequent flyers, nurses, doctors, or people on their feet most of the day are good candidates. Your veins are a compression valve system – they work against gravity to return blood from your legs to your heart. Many athletes wear compression socks for improved physical performance. I wear them most days and have not seen any vein issues after 16 straight months of standing at least seven hours a day, five days a week. I am also relatively young and very healthy, but trust me on the compression socks if you are concerned about veins. They have other benefits and are great to wear during a workout or a long drive or flight.

No one has to know you’re wearing them. I ordered a couple pairs to see which brands I liked then bought extras of my favorites. It was difficult to find articles with  specific product recs and I was confused about the size to buy and the levels of compression (how many mmHg you need). Here are some mild compression knee-highs – these first four are office or casual style:

1. Fytto Style 1020 Women’s Comfy Compression Socks, 15-20mmHg, Knee High ($24.99 or $11.70 with Amazon Prime)
2. Pintoli Style 1007 Women’s Ultra Sheer Moderate Compression Socks, 15-20mmHg, Knee High ($24.99 or from $11.70 with Prime)
3. Dr. Scholl’s Women’s Sheer Therapeutic Graduated Compression Sock, Knee High, 20-30Mmhg ($19-29 or $13-$19 with Prime)
4. Nabee Socks – $29.99. Founded with a Kickstarter campaign by nurse Brian Park. Rooted in science and graduated compression therapy. Fun designs for men and women. Read Nurse Anna’s review. 100% money-back guarantee, great startup company.

Athletic style:

1. Vitalsox Ladies Graduated Compression Socks, Black, Medium ($19.99-$35.00 as of 10/26/16) – there are many nurses with positive reviews of this sock
2. Not a sock – a calf sleeve instead: I bought these then sent my mom pair. They’re great for running, too. Wear them to prevent varicose veins and help circulation on long flights, while sitting at work, or at your standing desk: CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Calf Sleeves

Green STAND upward arrow keyAgain, worth the investment, just like the floor mat. You may want a higher mmHg if you already have vein problems. Seek medical advice if you want over 20mmHg. Care: Handwash or machine wash on the delicate cycle or you will destroy the compressing properties. Line dry.

*I am not a trained healthcare professional. This article is not official medical advice. Please consult your physician before making any major health or lifestyle changes.
The Amazon link in this post is an Amazon Associate links. My full disclosure policy is here.