The Ultimate Guide To Standing vs. Sitting, Anti-Fatigue Mats, Standing Desks, Sitting Myths & More!

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Biohacking, Podcast

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

A couple years ago, at the Ancestral Health Symposium, I presented a poster entitled  “Biohacking The Hazards of Sitting”. As you can see in the video below, I actually thought I was being quite witty to present a poster on the dangers of sitting while sitting with poor posture in a folding chair.

It's actually been over five years since I've adopted the habit of frequently alternating positions throughout my work day, a strategy I highlight in detail my video “How Should You Stand At A Standing Desk“ and also in last week's podcast “Standing Desks, Memory Foam & The Science Of Walking Barefoot In Shoes.” My office is actually like a tiny playground, littered with kettlebells, a pull-up bar, a boxing heavy bag, this treadmill workstation, and a variety of standing surfaces, including my latest foot acupressure therapy invention, a Bulletproof Sleep Induction mat wrapped around a Kybounder mat.

But I just can't get enough of this stuff.

So in a few weeks, I'm interviewing a fiction author about how she writes fiction while standing and walking to train for an ultramarathon, and in today's podcast, I'm interviewing a guy named Josh Kerst, who mans the helm of one of the most innovative standing workstation companies on the face of the planet: Focal Upright.

Josh is executive vice president of Focal Upright Furniture Inc. He holds a BSE (U of Michigan) in Industrial Engineering and is a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE), Certified Industrial Ergonomist (CIE) and is a Member of the ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 Office Seating committee.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

What it means to be an “active couch potato”…

The shocking results of a study on athletes that found they can actually be more sedentary than the average office worker…

-Workplace positions that trigger a gene which restricts your ability to recover and drops your HDL…

-How long you would need to be sitting for the dangers of sitting to begin kicking in…

-How a dangerous response called the “compensation effect” can kick in if you exercise at the beginning of the day, and what you can do about it…

-Why a standing workstation can actually hurt your shoulders, elbows and wrists and how to set up proper ergonomics at a standing workstation…

-Ideas for creative positions you can work in aside from standing, walking or sitting…

-Why you should a “stool” to your standing workstation setup…

-The brand new heart rate variability research coming out soon on standing mats for everything from balance to strengthening and stretching your feet while you are working…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

The Focal Upright Website (this is a place where you can also get the “Mogo” stool or the Locus seat we talk about)

The Kybounder balance deskmat

The Topo mat

The TrueForm treadmill

Yoga For The Upright Desk article

-The Lighting Science “Awake & Alert” Bulbs

-The Human Charger in-ear phototherapy device

-Study: Sedentary behaviour among elite professional footballers: health and performance implications

-Study: Identification of hemostatic genes expressed in human and rat leg muscles and a novel gene (LPP1/PAP2A) suppressed during prolonged physical inactivity (sitting)

-Study: Research on “the compensation effect”

12 different apps that will remind you to take a break

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Daniel Yellin or I? Leave your thoughts below!

Also published on Medium.

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

40 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To Standing vs. Sitting, Anti-Fatigue Mats, Standing Desks, Sitting Myths & More!

  1. Liz Kuhl says:

    Hi Ben. Thank you for the post. Do you recommend any silicon mats for greater cushioning?

  2. Sam Klinsky says:

    Hi Ben,

    I was researching options to alleviate lower back pain from sitting at the office. I have recently bought a Varidesk and tried to stand the whole day. Did not really work. Tried to alternate but my feet still hurt. From your experience would you recommend mat or reclining office chairs?

    Sam Klinsky

  3. Madhu says:

    Hi Ben, just want to say you are doing a great job and with an open mind which is important.

    Is there a way to get old episodes such as this one on my podcast app? The feed doesn’t go that far back. Thanks!

  4. Michael Hoeksema says:

    FYI Yoga For The Upright Desk Article link is no longer working

  5. I’ve heard few myths about sitting vs standing but here I totally commit myself to this message. I’d gonna make myself confuse whenever had a thought of being strong. The best thing we can get from is absolutely the one which works against fatigue & stress. So, I would suggest Anti-fatigue mats to choose instead of normal mats.

  6. Jon M says:

    Nice article. For me I think switching up your sitting postures is key, whether that means standing, alternating between a regular office chair and kneeling chair etc. I’ve incorporated these things into my daily routine and feel I have a lot more energy at the end of the day.

  7. Hi Ben,

    I just stumbled across your awesome post and I was wondering what you could suggest in terms of getting rid of lower back pain from sitting. I tried changing an office chair, using a raising desk (standing 50% of the time) and even used an ergonomic ball a couple of times. Did not get much relief. Would you have any tips?


    1. Samuel, start here:… and let me know if you have any questions.

  8. James says:

    Hey Ben,

    I’m a cyclist and racing each weekend as well as studying/working at a desk every day. I’m wondering about your thoughts on using a standing workstation the day before a race/in a race taper.
    I also use a turbo trainer by my workstation sometimes, like how you use the treadmill. It adds variation to standing positions but isn’t necessarily good if you think about the hip angle that you guys were talking about. What are your thoughts on that?


    1. I don't like the hip angle of cycling while working. Bigger fan of standing positions and treadmill positions. Give this a read:

  9. James says:

    your podcasts are the BEST. I am an ACE certified Personal Trainer and you always UP my game for info. Thank you so much! Can you please tell me how to find the show notes though? I am searching endlessly. thanks again

    1. You are commenting on the show notes right now! They are always the post where you find the podcast.

  10. Jeff says:


    What are your views on the kybounder vs. the topo? The topo is significantly cheaper. I imagine it will be a big improvement over my current mat, but I also understand the purpose of the kybounder is different, in that it’s designed to strengthen all of the little muscles and tendons in your foot, which I’m keen on doing. I suspect the topo won’t have the same effect, but I’m curious about your experiences with both, if you’ve used the topo.

    Keep up the awesome work.


      1. Jeff says:

        Thanks, Ben! Turns out I subscribed to your premium podcasts a while ago and had totally forgotten. Looking forward to listening to this one, and many others!


        – Jeff

  11. Tricia says:

    I have an office job and am a wiggle worm. I also refuse to wear tight pants anymore (cuts the circulation when sitting). My husband is on his feet all day. When he is doing a heating technique that requires him to use a heat-gun, he hangs the heat-gun from the ceiling, and he harnesses himself also from the ceiling to make it a lot easier to do (especially if he needs to do it for a long time. Love that smart man)

  12. Brayden Pitcairn says:

    Coupon Code for ordering any Focal products? Loved the episode!

  13. Benjamin Romann says:


    New position at my Y. DIY my standing desk and equipment to stay active all day.

  14. Aj says:

    Hey Ben!

    Super great podcast as usual – definitely motivated me to really pay more attention to keep moving even more throughout the day and not be an active couch potato ;P

    I was just wondering – what actually IS it about sitting that triggers all the negative biochemical cascade? Is it just the fact of being immobile, or is it the actual position of sitting?
    I ask because sometime I choose to lie down on my front to do writing at my computer, and wondering if that would also have the same negative effects?!

    Thanks so much in advance!

  15. Zack Arnold says:

    What are the specific plants you mentioned that help oxygenate your office? Thanks.

    1. My wife did an entire clinic on this in the BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle. But you can google "nasa houseplant study" to get basics…

  16. Kathleen Larsen says:

    your podcasts are the BOMB. I am an ACE certified Personal Trainer and you always UP my game for info. Thank you so much! Can you please tell me how to find the show notes though? I am searching endlessly. thanks again~ Kathleen

    1. The show notes are always found with the podcast, but the transcript is found at

  17. Fran Shannon says:

    Hey Ben

    When are you going to do a show on how safe it is to use edibles as skin care products.

    1. Great question for you to call into the podcast –

  18. Ryan says:

    Fantastic podcast, Ben. AROO!

    I’ve started combining mini-breaks with my membership. Desk Yogi offers short tutorials on meditation, stretching, massage, and other awesome health related modalities.

    HIGHLY recommend Desk Yogi for busy working professionals looking to grease the wheel during the work day!

  19. Ryan says:

    Fantastic article, Ben. AROO!

    I’ve started combining mini-breaks with my membership. Desk Yogi offers short tutorials on meditation, stretching, massage, and other awesome health related modalities.

    HIGHLY recommend Desk Yogi for busy working professionals looking to grease the wheel during the work day!

  20. Louis says:

    Hey Ben! You said you got sent a fluid stance. Do you think you’ll be getting a discount code for your listeners? I really want one!

  21. Kelly says:

    Hey Ben!

    I am an Occupational Therapy student, and after having been HUGE fan/ advocate myself personally of standing desks for years, I am finally getting the chance to do some actual formal research studies for my school program! After a full semester of grad school sitting, I had a lot of back issues and a number of other symptoms- so started trying to gather support to make some changes made in our classrooms. I feel like OT’s should be leaders in this area, as we are known in the field of ergonomics. ….It seems so obvious to me, but its been a bit of a challenge getting others to embrace the idea.

    I love all the info you have here, and would be great to discuss more about the most “needed” areas of research in this area. Any specific “holes” that you see in the area, that could use some validation? I have just begun to start to check into the studies that have already been done, and it seems there a quite a few, but I’d like to help polish the topic beyond what is already out there. If you have any suggestions or would be willing to discuss this more! I am also looking to design some very inexpensive, easy to make standing desks for our program/ school out of PVC pipe, and maybe have a model that others could follow.

    Would love to get any ideas/advice on this!

    Love your show!



    1. I'd say top 3 would be…

      -Research on variations in standing positions and their varying effect…
      -The ideal pomodoro time technique for moving after being sedentary or standing…
      -The injuries produced by standing or treadmill workstations and how to avoid them.

  22. William says:

    Hi Ben, and Josh too,

    I’ve heard, read, and seen so much about the dangers of sitting, but most, if not all of them promote standing as the solution. How come no one is talking about squatting another legit form of hanging out?

    A big chunk of people in the world, especially in Asia, squat, not in the sense of doing air squats or barbell squats, but just squatting for extended periods instead of sitting or standing around. I’ve only heard of Kelly Starrett briefly mentioning this in one of his talks but it hasn’t really caught on in western fitness circles. And the only form of squatting that caught on is for pooping (with a squatty potty). I know it could be culturally awkward in the west to squat, but maybe this is something that could also be introduced as an alternative to sitting.

    Do you have any thoughts on this?


    1. I actually do that sometimes when working and writing!

  23. Wayne says:

    Ben, what is your stance on yoga balls vs office chairs?

  24. maurice john says:


    Ben ,

    Please give me some info on home pull up bars.



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