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Should I get a standing desk for gaming? A complete guide to staying on your toes

Your guide to standing desks and their benefits for gamers.

According to the Smithsonian, spending more of your day standing could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, has studied the effects of prolonged sitting during the day and its impact on our health. Even if you believe going to the gym after sitting for an extended period will be countered--that's just not true.

"A growing body of inactivity research, however, suggests that this advice makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging,” says James Vlahos.

The benefit comes from incorporating other activities and standing at your desk is the easiest way to accomplish this. The key to reducing the risk to our health comes from consistent, moderate levels of movement during the day. When you are sitting all day, you burn fewer calories, resulting in metabolic changes to the body's cells and muscles. When you are standing, you tend to move more often, which keeps the body active. Of course, you can still sit, but if you make a habit of moving around every hour or two, you can still benefit.

"Step one is get up. Step two is learn to get up more often. Step three is, once you're up--move," says James Levine. "And what we've discovered is that once you're up, you do tend to move. Steps one and two then, are the most important parts--and a desk that encourages you to stand at least some of the time is one of the most convenient means of doing so."

Whether you are at work or gaming, sitting is part of it--at the desk or on the couch. Keeping yourself mobile consistently in a moderate manner, you'll put yourself at less risk to health issues.

But, do standing desks benefit gamers?

Incorporating a standing desk is all the new rage these days. Many work environments are substituting the average work desk for standing ones to benefit their employees. This is believed to improve not only your physical health but also mental health, increasing productivity and lowering fatigue. Have you ever sat at your desk for a long period of time and found yourself tired? This is a result of being sedentary too long.

A standing desk keeps you from being sedentary, but it also comes with risks. Standing all day can lead to back, foot, and knee problems as well as other health risks. Anyone who has worked in retail or food service knows what I'm talking about.

There are also studies showing that standing too long can eventually lead to an increased risk of cartoid atherosclerosis: a blockage of the cartoid artery which is a serious condition exhibiting a form of paralysis or heart attack. In other words, this is a blockage of a major artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain.

Mikael Cho, founder of Crew, wrote about his experience using a standing desk and why he gave up on it. Mr. Cho expressed how excited he was after reading about all the benefits associated with incorporating a standing desk at work, that is--until trying one. Within an hour of standing his legs became tired, then later his back and shoulders started to hurt. This didn't just happen on the first day or the next.

Yes, Mikael did think perhaps he needed to "grow" into his desk, but that wasn't the case. It became a tragic dance of struggling at the standing desk and needing to sit down with his laptop in hand just to concentrate. What was worse is that his mind wanted to work, but his body said no. Mikael did his own research about standing desks until he came to the conclusion to dismantle his own.

What is the best option?

With studies saying one thing and other studies saying another. The answer to ‘should I get a standing desk?’ is well, a sit-stand desk is best. A sit-stand desk allows you to have the best of both worlds while encouraging you to be mobile. No one should sit at a desk all day, but no one should be standing all day either. Honestly, it's insane and that's my opinion. No matter what you choose, you should utilize it properly.

I've read the research, read opinions, and the only answer is--keep mobile. I sit at a desk for many hours a day, but I make a habit of getting up every two hours. Yes, I game and I raid on Destiny with my clan so I know that isn't always feasible. I do stand up while playing to stretch my legs. At my desk, I sit on a yoga ball to keep my posture. I also lounge out on the couch if I feel the need. It's up to you to stay active. A sit-stand desk is my choice.

With so many options on the market, it's easy to find a desk to meet your needs and budget. From the EvoDesk Gaming Desk to the VIVO Sit-Stand Adjustable Desk Mount, you can select a sit-stand desk that's best for you.

Let us know what you think and what type of desk you chose in the comments.

Published Dec. 16th 2015
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    I went to IKEA the other day and saw one of those elevator tables that go up and down. I shamed by family by probably spending more time playing with the buttons than the typical 5-year old would have...

    That said, I would totally get one of those to play games. Standing up once in a while would be great, provided that I had a proper chair to sit on afterward.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    I love mine and I use a yoga ball.
  • Jay Ricciardi
    Contributor
    My work-around strategy was to actually get a fitness tracker - I bought an Up3 and it has this awesome little 'Idle Alert' option that will buzz at set intervals. So, if I'm sedentary for more than 30min during a certain time (I set it to my office hours), I'll get a buzz and I'll get up to walk around, do jumping jacks, make some tea, or anything else to make me active for a minute or two. So far, it seems to be the most effective way to remind myself to get up and move instead of being constantly sedentary for an 8-hour work day and it works just the same for extended gaming binges! And it means not having to spend too much money or work with a sit-stand desk.

    No idea if it's actually as effective as I think it is, but in my anecdotal experience this seems to be improving my energy levels and mental stamina.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    Before I had to replace my desk, I'd set an alarm on my cell to remind me to move. It also helped me to have two active pups in my home office to remind me they needed some love.

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