What is the 20-8-2 rule? – A Simple Guide!

If you’re spending too much time in a static posture, you could be a victim of sitting disease and creating negative health conditions for yourself down the road. Fortunately, there are means to prevent this, one of which involves no special pills, no expensive products and is proven by science to work. So, what is the 20-8-2 rule? Let’s find out!

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What is the 20-8-2 rule?

The 20-8-2 rule is a working pattern developed to guide people on the length of time they should spend in various postures. It typically applies to people who work at a standing desk but can be used by practically anyone. For every half hour, an individual should sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8 minutes, and move around for a minimum of 2 minutes. The overall goal of the 20-8-2 rule is to prevent people from sitting and adopting static postures for too long. On the other hand, people may stand or walk for too long which can also pose negative health effects. This 20-8-2 rule helps bring a balance and achieve an equilibrium between sitting, standing and walking. Following this rule can help prevent the onset of sitting disease and the associated negative health effects of a static posture.

Above is just a teaser of the benefits of this rule. So, let me introduce you to more of the phenomenal proven health benefits attributed to it and how you can apply it to your work and daily life right now to slash the amount of time you spend in a sedentary posture. Let’s get started.

Physical inactivity is the 4th leading worldwide risk factor for mortality. Source

What is the 20-8-2 rule?

Who should use the 20-8-2 rule?

The 20-8-2 rule tends to be aimed towards people who spend too long in a sedentary posture. It is often followed by individuals who use standing desks as it advises them on the durations that they should spend sitting, standing and moving around.

However, this rule can be applied to all walks of life:

  1. Working at a fixed or standing desk
  2. While at home
  3. While gaming
  4. While watching TV
  5. While studying
  6. Doing household tasks

The 20-8-2 rule is even more applicable to people who use a treadmill desk as they can spend those 2+ minutes walking on the under desk treadmill.

By investing in an active workstation, you can also further increase the level of activity and movement in your day.

Related: Best Active Workstation Types – Ultimate Buyers Guide!

What is the 20-8-2 rule? - Person walking barefoot

What are the benefits of the 20-8-2 rule?

Sitting for long periods of time have been shown to impact negatively on the body.

The effects of sitting for too long include:

People are spending as much as 12 – 13 hours in a sedentary position throughout the day.

  1. Decreased metabolism, increased weight gain and obesity
  2. Poorer energy levels
  3. Less focus and productivity
  4. Weakening muscles and bones
  5. Poor posture and back pain
  6. Higher blood pressure levels
  7. Higher cholesterol levels
  8. Increased risk of diabetes
  9. Increased risk of cancer
  10. Increased risk of heart disease

Tip: Use the 2 minutes of walking around while the commercials are on the TV.

A study compared results between a group of individuals using the 20-8-2 rule at fixed desk and a group following 20-8-2 rule at their standing desk. The research showed that the group applying the 20-8-2 rule at their active workstation:

  1. Over time, increased task performance
  2. Did not impair attention span or short-term memory
  3. Did not increase stress or musculoskeletal discomfort
  4. Significant differences in energy expenditure

By incorporating the 20-8-2 rule into your life and following a more active lifestyle with less sitting and static postures, the risk of developing these health conditions can be drastically reduced.

Of course, if you adopted a 4 day working week, you could slash the time you spend at your desk by as much as 20% in a week! This is just one of the benefits that I wrote about in: 4 Day Work Week V 5 Day – Full Of Surprising Facts & Results

Tip: Setting a timer on your phone, computer or even a kitchen timer can remind you to change positions at the required times.

So, by following one simple rule that’s easy to follow and doesn’t involve any expensive pills or potions, you can radically improve your mental and physical health along with boosting your mood and energy levels! – It sounds too good to be true!


The 20-8-2 rule is a simply, yet extremely effective means of improving your overall health and well-being. It can be adopted by anybody and best of all, it costs nothing.

By getting the balance right between sitting, standing and moving, you are following the expert guidance on the perfect posture timings for your body. 

This will help in preventing the negative effects of sitting for too long and standing for too long, both of which encourage static postures.

The results of implementing it are crystal clear, the only question that remains is how much does your health matter to you?

Will you try and incorporate the 20-8-2 rule into your life? Or will it at least motivate you to get up from your seat a bit more?

If you’re keen to introduce some movement into your life to reduce the length of time you spend sitting, fear not because I have been looking into the many other ways which can be employed to introduce movement into your workstation:  What Is An Active Workstation? – Plus The Amazing Benefits!

The below items are what I’ve looked into so far in order of preference:

  1. Treadmill desks
  2. Standing desk converters
  3. Ergonomic chairs
  4. Standing desks
  5. Desk bike
  6. Desk elliptical
  7. Kneeling chairs
  8. Standing desk chairs
  9. Anti-fatigue mats
  10. Balance boards

My personal favorite products so far are the:

  1. Sunny Treadpad Slim Under Desk Treadmill 20740
  2. Sunny Portable Stand Up Elliptical
  3. Ergotron WorkFit-LX
  4. Bush Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk
  5. CoolMesh Pro Multi-Function Chair

My aim with this website is to help you on all matters related to your home office and your work area. With that in mind, if you have any questions or comments on the above, please drop them in the box below. I’d love to hear them!


With years of both professional and first-hand experience in office equipment and work settings, I now want to help you avoid making mistakes that countless others do. Whether you're studying or working from home, this site will help you create the ultimate haven for working safely, comfortably and productively in!

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