As a Pilates Instructor What’s Your Opinion on Standing Desks?

• Yay or nay? A Your question has come at the most opportune time. Recently, I ordered a raised

• Desk and have been spending about 50 percent of my “desk time” standing. So I can offer you not only my professional opinion, but also an account of my personal experience.

About 12 or 13 years ago, for the first time in my life, I was spending hours upon hours sitting at a desk to work on my book, Pilates (Human Kinetics). This was also the first time in my life when I started experiencing back problems.

As a Pilates Instructor What’s Your Opinion on Standing Desks? Photo Gallery



There is no doubt in my mind that sitting for extended periods of time had a detrimental effect on my back. My back is predisposed to certain issues due to preexisting pathologies (spondilolysthesis and degenerative disc disease). In fact, it is quite miraculous that I had never suffered back problems until that point, which I attribute to my many years of Pilates, and in my pre-Pilates days, being active and practicing yoga and dance.

To me, standing desks make complete sense. Sitting, no doubt, puts the hip flexors in a shortened position, exacerbating many people’s already-tight muscles. It usually leads to round shoulder syndrome with shortened thoracic flexors (primarily the pectorals) and shoulder internal rotators, together with a deconditioned.

There is no doubt in my mind that sitting for extended periods of time had a detrimental effect on my back. Sitting, no doubt, puts the hip flexors in a shortened position, exacerbating many people’s already-tight muscles.

Mid upper back and hip extensors.

Add to that the lack of movement, compression of the inner organs and forward head position, and the picture becomes quite gloomy.

But by standing part of the time, you are changing positions, a physical activity in and of itself.

You are also placing the body in a functional position that elongates the hip flexors, activates the spinal extensors and hip extensors, allows the inner organs to function normally, and generally places the head in a better position.

I do advise that, while standing, to shift your weight from side to side, backward and forward. This will help to alleviate possible stress on the lower back. Bottom line: I am in favor of using a standing desk for at least part of the time. It does not need to break the bank, either; you can achieve this for a minimal investment (around $40). The way I see it, you don’t have much to lose—other than your back pain, of course!

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