Toward a new Theory of Standology

I stand before you with a new theory:

A desk at standing height, together with a stool chair, makes the best standing desk.

— S's Theory of Standology

Drawing from my decades of research, including sitting desks with chairs, sitting desks with good chairs, sitting desks with really bad chairs, sitting desks with no chairs, sitting desks with motors to raise them to standing height, sitting desks with hand cranks to raise them to standing height, standing desks with stool chairs, and a treadmill desk, plus reading some stuff on the internet, I’ve concluded that the essential benefit of standing desks is not standing, but putting the body in motion. In a traditional sit-stand desk, one which can be raised to a standing height, powerful forces conspire against the use of the standing feature. Observe:1

A desk with computer and keyboard atop, and a chair beside it, all in black silhouette.  In gray, the same chair pushed back, and the top of the desk and its contents raised.  Parallel red arrows pointing down, labelled Gravity and Inertia.

Traditional sit-stand desk

The force of gravity, as is so often the case, is the body’s nemesis in this situation, for any attempt on the part of the body to rise from a sitting position will be contradicted by both natural desire to sit and rest and the problems inherent in raising the desktop and its contents, for those contents may variously be full of liquids, tethered to non-moving objects by wires of fixed lenth, or otherwise at risk.

A standing desk with computer and keyboard atop, all in black silhouette.  A tall chair in gray silhouette next to the desk, and the same chair in black silhouette behind it.  A red arrow labeled Gravity pointing down and a green arrow labeled Inertia pointing up

Standing desk

In the standing desk, however, these forces cancel one another out. The convenience of addressing the desk and manipulating its contents merely by walking toward said desk and extending the body’s arms cannot be denied, whereas adjusting the body to a sitting position shall require additional effort: the chair must be retrieved, and the body lifted onto it, and so this burden will be shouldered only when fatigue forces surrender. With the forces in balance, the body will move freely between both positions, and motion emerges inevitably from that freedom, and health can be assumed to follow.