THE BLOG

Can't Get a Standing Desk? These Are Almost As Good

02/10/2015 08:30 am ET | Updated Apr 12, 2015

By Corrie Pikul, SELF

We don't need any more studies telling us that sitting is killing us. Yet despite our commitment to stand up once every 45 -- no, 20 -- minutes, we still end up getting so engrossed in our work (or whatever else happens to be on our screens) that our backside is practically numb before we remember to get off of it. To goose our good intentions, we tried three apps that promised to help us move more throughout the day. Here are our results.

For the Minimalist: Stand Up!

This free, streamlined break timer works perfectly in its simplicity. You pre-set the days and times you need a kick in the pants as well as the intervals. When it's time to stand, a pleasant-sounding bell dings and you either confirm that you're up, tap the equivalent of a snooze alarm or dismiss the alert. Then you sit back down and the app resumes placidly, counting down to your next alert. (You can also add a location-tracking service so that the app knows not to bother you when you're, say, out getting lunch and not at your desk). While it ate up a little more battery from my cell than normal, I wasn't far from a charger, but noted: you'll eventually need one if you're using this app.

For the Overachiever: StandApp

This nifty free app doesn't just remind you when it's time to stand up; it also provides a short video depicting an exercise like a trunk twist, desk-push-up or neck stretch you can do while standing. The instructional videos look like earnest outtakes from The Office, with buttoned-up corporate types in fluorescent-lit cubicles -- unintentionally inducing smirks and giggles, but hey it got us standing and moving. But while these exercises may look goofy, they feel great. Another thing we liked: The app encourages you to stay standing -- if not deskercising -- for a full five minutes, making it feel like true break during your otherwise busy day.

For the Tech-Minded: Jawbone UP

The customizable 'Idle Alert' is just one small part of the whole Jawbone package (bracelet plus app: $130 to $180), but it's something that sets this wearable fitness tracker apart from much of the competition. As with the other aforementioned apps, you pre-set your intervals (say, every 20 minutes) as well as the times you know you'll be tethered to your computer. When you've been sedentary for too long, your UP bracelet gently vibrates to remind you to stop and stand. Although subtle, the vibration is harder to ignore than a bell or a buzzer, and once you're up, you'll probably feel motivated to add a few steps toward your daily goal of 10,000. If you're already in the market for an activity tracker, this is a nice added feature.