Before answering the “what”, we should first answer why a standing desk is better? Standing while working is much better than sitting. Researchers have found that sitting for over three hours at a time is bad for your health. And they also found that you can’t out exercise the effects of sitting, so regardless if you are gym rat or not, the bad effects from prolonged sitting will still haunt you.
As far as the health effects from sitting, numerous studies all reached the same conclusion: prolonged sitting increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers along with leading to an early death.
One reason sitting causes the mentioned health issues is that while sitting, you are burning very few calories, yet most likely you are not reducing your intake of calories to offset your inactiveness. So over time, you are going to gain weight due to consuming more calories than your body needs at the time.
Another reason is that when sitting, your body doesn’t produce as much lipoprotein lipase as it does when standing or moving around. This compound is produced in the muscles and helps them process fats more efficiently.
So if your work ties you to a desk, a standing desk can be the answer. Basically a standing desk is a flat platform on legs that allows you to work standing up. Ideally you want the work surface or computer keyboard to be level with your hands when your forearms are parallel with the floor.
The monitor should be even with your eyes, so you don’t have to bend your head down to look at it. People who use laptops usually type on the laptop, but have an external monitor at eye level. Alternately, you could use the monitor of your laptop and have an external keyboard at work surface height.
Because of the difference in height of people, most standing desks come with either adjustable legs or work surfaces. Most of the better standing desks move up and down electrically while the less expensive ones adjust manually.
Expect to spend from $500 to $2,000 on a standing desk. Also add a standing mat for about $100 more to take the pressure off of your feet and back. Some people like to occasionally sit (which is a good idea as prolonged standing is not good for you either) and they choose to have a high-legged stool to sit on.
Having a standing desk is not so much about standing, but that it is easier to move around while working. Of course the ultimate in standing desks is one that also comes with a walking treadmill. This allows you to both work and easily walk at the same time. This type of standing desk costs around $4,000, but many companies are buying them, because in the end it reduces the amount of money the company has to pay in health costs. And it is ergonomically ethical as far as taking care of employees.