OU employee standing at desk

Sooners Stand for Health - Standing Desk Program

Did you know that standing while working just one hour a day can improve your health? Can’t leave your desk? No problem! HealthySooners now makes standing while working possible for more employees through the Sooners Stand for Health program. You can apply for an opportunity to use one of the limited sit-to-stand units available which easily converts a regular desk to a standing desk at no cost to you or your department. 

Getting Started Standing for Better Health

  1. Gradually transition yourself to using a standing desk. Alternate sitting and standing, starting with small increments of standing for about 15 minutes. Work your way up to standing for about 40-45 minutes and sitting for at least 15-20 minutes every hour.
  2. Have a pair of comfortable shoes handy.
  3. Ergonomic tips to keep in mind when sitting or standing:
    1. Elbows should stay in close to the body and be positioned at a true 90 degrees when 
    2. Hands, wrists, and forearms are straight, in-line and roughly parallel to the floor. 
    3. Shoulders are relaxed and upper arms hang normally at the side of the body.
    4. Top of monitor should be at or just below eye-level.
    5. Computer monitor should be at least an arm’s length away.
    6. Feet are fully supported by the floor or a footrest may be used if the desk height is not adjustable.
    7. Back is fully supported with appropriate lumbar support when sitting vertical or leaning back slightly.
    8. Thighs and hips are supported by a well-padded seat and generally parallel to the floor.
    9. Knees are about the same height as the hips with the feet slightly forward.

Upright Sitting Posture

The user's torso and neck are approximately vertical and in-line, the thighs are approximately horizontal, and the lower legs are vertical.

Woman sitting with correct posture.

Standing Posture

The user's legs, torso, neck, and head are approximately in-line and vertical. The user may also elevate one foot on a rest while in this posture.

Woman standing with correct posture.
Get more information about good working postures here from the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Recent research describes the negative health effects of prolonged sitting. These health concerns can be costly, shorten life expectancy, and lessen quality of life. Studies have also shown that the simple act of standing more and sitting less can help minimize these negative health risks. 

Review the quotes and articles below for more information.

From Science Daily

“Even standing throughout the day -- instead of sitting for hours at a time -- can improve health and quality of life while reducing the risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and colon cancer, among others…..To help office workers and employees who often sit for long periods of time, the researchers suggest trying a sit/stand desk as way to decrease sedentary time and add physical activity into the day.” - Kansas State University. (2014, January 15). Take a stand, be active to reduce chronic disease, make aging easier, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140115113536.htm.

From Harvard Health Publications

“Exactly how sitting a lot contributes to poor health isn’t clear. But some research suggests that it has harmful effects on sugar and fat metabolism, both of which affect a person’s risk of diabetes and heart disease, says Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.” – Corliss, J. (2015, January 22). “Too much sitting linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature death.” Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/much-sitting-linked-heart-disease-diabetes-premature-death-201501227618

From Mercola.com

“It appears that temporary vigorous exercise simply cannot compensate for the damage incurred by prolonged daily sitting. For example, a recent analysis of 18 studies found that those who sat for the longest periods of time were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease, compared to those who sat the least.” -http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/02/14/3-fitness-tests.aspx

From Medical News Today

“Although this association (sitting and risk of disease) was more pronounced among people who spent little time exercising, the study also found that prolonged sitting time was associated with poor health outcomes, regardless of physical activity….He (Dr. Alter) says that people should aim to decrease their sitting time by 2-3 hours in a 12-hour day, suggesting that standing during the commercial breaks on TV, or working standing up at your desk for a couple of hours a day may be beneficial.” - McNamee, D. (2015, January 22). "Sitting increases disease risk... and exercise may not reduce it." Medical News Today. Retrieved June 1, 2015 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288333.php.


The application period is currently closed. Please contact HealthySooners to be added to the HSC or Tulsa waiting list.

Interested Norman employees, please contact OU Wellness at wellness@ou.edu

Consider This

OU Environmental Health & Safety

The occupational safety officers from each campus have assisted HealthySooners by providing valuable input regarding standing desks and ergonomics.