Standing Desk or Sitting – Which is Better?

Moriah Diederich, Yoga Mojo

Holistic Yoga Therapist™, RYT500, Accessible Yoga Ambassador

To sit or stand? That is the question.

Alarmist headlines have caught our attention with titles such as “Sitting is the New Smoking.” But is sitting really that bad for you? Is standing at your desk all day really the answer? Or is there something else we can do to help keep our bodies from aching after a long day in the cubicle?

Sitting at a desk all day long can cause aches and pains. But is a standing desk really the answer?

Sitting at a desk all day long can cause aches and pains. But is a standing desk really the answer?

Is sitting bad for you?

To address the first question “is sitting really that bad for you?”, my answer is two-fold. Sitting isn’t the problem. It’s how long and how much we sit that taxes the body.

Think about it…how much time do you spend sitting every day:

  • at the breakfast table
  • commuting to work
  • working at your desk
  • in meetings or conferences
  • eating lunch
  • commuting home
  • running errands
  • eating dinner
  • watching T.V., reading, or other seated hobby

The time adds up, right?

In general, Americans spend an average of 13 hours a day sitting and 7 hours sleeping. That’s 20 hours a day, or 83% of the time that your body is not moving.

Is standing at your desk the answer?

So if “sitting is the new smoking,” is standing at our desk all day going to cure us of all our ailments? Unfortunately, no. The problem is that if we stand all day long, we just created a different way of holding a stationary position for too many hours.

The answer is balance.

My husband has a saying: “Life is a spectrum. Happiness is in the middle.”

During our workday and in life, we should take the opportunity to sit, stand, stretch and walk many different times. The human body was designed to move, and lucky for us it was also designed to be stationary in a wide variety of positions.

Mix it up. Have a little fun.

Do you have to stand at your desk like a robot? Or can you practice some of your fun dance moves in front of the computer and get a little wiggle on while answering another email? The Topo Anti-Fatigue Standing Desk Mat also helps create a variety of positions for your legs to stand in and stretch out.

The same goes for sitting: do you have to just sit there? Or can you get a large gym ball or wobble cushion and move around a bit more?

Can you squat or kneel down and vary the positions your body is in? In other words, what can you adjust so you aren’t stuck in the same position all day long?

How do I walk more when I’m stuck at a desk all day?

Katie Bowman, my favorite biomechanist and movement geek, has a wonderful math solution to get more movement in. During your eight-hour workday, take a walk for three-minutes every half hour. The math looks like this: 8 x 3 x 2. What does that equal? 48 minutes of walking during your workday!

The morale of the story

Kids exemplify movement and wiggles, and we often note with dismay that they cannot sit still for more than a few moments at a time. Perhaps if we tune into our own bodies for a moment we’ll realize that even as adults, our own bodies speak to us when it’s time to change positions. And if we start to tune them out, our bodies speak louder and louder, sometimes to the point where we have no choice but to listen.

So what can you do today to listen to your body and give it what it needs?


I am passionate about helping my clients learn how to realign themselves in order to breathe, move and live better. Please contact me if you would like to learn how to incorporate more movement to decrease your daily aches and pains. I’d love to help you feel better in your body!


Katie Bowman, Don’t Just Sit There: Transitioning to a Standing and Dynamic Workstation for Whole-Body Health, February 28, 2016, Propriometrics Press

Katie Bowman, How Much Do I Sit Quiz, March 29, 2012,


Moriah Diederich is a certified Holistic Yoga Therapist, RYT500 and Accessible Yoga Ambassador, and has been featured on KGW8 Portland Today. She owns Yoga Mojo & Movement Therapy in Vancouver, WA, where she offers holistic yoga therapy and private yoga classes customized for each client and their specific needs. Moriah is passionate about helping people move more comfortably on a daily basis with the energy to enjoy family, community and the world around us. She believes that every individual can benefit from yoga because the practice is accessible to everyone and teaches us how to sustain healthy movement for life. Moriah lives in Camas, Washington with her best friend and husband Bret Canfield and their two furry kids: a couch potato Pitbull named Rookie, and a sweet and sassy green-eyed cat named Evie.



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Call Moriah at Yoga Mojo & Movement Therapy to learn yoga at (360) 833-0617

Moriah Diederich

Learn Yoga at Yoga Mojo & Movement Therapy in a yoga class located at 108 SE 124th Avenue, Ste 18, Vancouver, WA 98684 serving all of Clark County and Portland, Oregon

Yoga Mojo & Movement Therapy
108 SE 124th Ave, Suite 18
Vancouver, WA  98684


Mon – Fri  9am – 6pm

By appointment only

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Yoga Mojo & Movement Therapy is conveniently located off I-205 and Mill Plain and serves all of the Clark County, Washington area including Vancouver, Washougal, Camas, Felida, Salmon Creek, Ridgefield, Battle Ground, Hockinson and La Center.The second exit after the NB I-205 bridge, Yoga Mojo is also quick and easy to get to from Portland, Oregon.