Moved to a standing desk


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Click to see the full standing desk setup

I’m trying out a standing desk. I’ve been reading a bit about sitting vs. standing, and my synopsis is it’s not good for your body to do either for 8–10 hours a day.

I’m a designer and photographer and can spend up to 12 hours at a time at my main computer. I felt when sitting for such long periods I didn’t get up as often as I’d like to stretch the legs and get the blood flowing. I’m also prone to slouching — and I cannot stop. Even when I consciously straighten my back, a few minutes later I’m back to slouching. To combat this, I bought an exercise ball. And while it was fun to sit and work on (bouncing up and down while listening to music, for instance) I realised I was still slouching.

So, after reading a bunch of information, including a couple of posts by my favourite internet doctor (and after we bought a new dining table), I decided to take the plunge[1. The new dining table played a vital role because I took the old table and placed it on top of my desk. I sawed down the legs a coupe of times to make sure it was at a good height.]. And so far, so good. I’ve been using it for six days at maybe 4–5 hours per day, and I can report the following:

  • It’s quite fun to work while standing up. This could just be the novelty, but I suspect not.
  • I’ve found that I’m not at the computer for really long periods of time anymore. I often walk away to water the plants or have a drink or some other small task. I’m certain I did not do this as much previously (especially since the exercise ball was a bit kinda tricky to get up from). I’m sure the short breaks are better mentally too.
  • I *think* I concentrate more on the task at hand. I’m not 100% sure (yet), but I reckon I’m not checking Twitter as often as I used to, or getting distracted by other internet-time-thieving websites.
  • It feels extremely natural (and fun) to play air drums to metal, or to rock out to some hip hop. (See the first point.)
  • For the time being, I’m using a thick beach towel folded twice as a mat (4x thickness). This has been pretty good so far although sometimes I feel I need the added support of my Birkenstocks. Ideally I want to be barefoot. Many forums posters reported it taking around a week for their bodies to get used to standing. These days I don’t spend all day at the computer, so I’ll be giving it a a few weeks from when I return from Oz before invest in a proper anti-fatigue rubber mat.
  • I have no pain in my back at all (I didn’t before), but slight fatigue in my shoulders. I suspect this is from the desk height being a little too high. I’ll reduce the height by 10–20mm a week or so after I get back from my trip to see if this helps.
  • I have a slight pain on the inside of my right ankle. I suspect this is part of the 1–2 week process of my body getting used to standing. Hopefully this will go away. I’ll report back in a month or so.
  • It seems to be at least a few degrees warmer 40cms up.
  • The ceiling fan does not hit me as much as when I was working lower.
  • Everyone is skeptical, and warns me of why it’s not a good idea. I might find it’s not be for me, but I’ll only know if I try.

Oh yeah, the Lego AT-AT Walker? A future post ;)

  • Duncan MacIntyre
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    Duncan MacIntyre Duncan MacIntyre

    How’s it going now after about a month I guess?

    I think the shoulder pain probably is due to working a bit too high, I’d be interested to hear if it’s still a problem.

    • Barto
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      Barto Barto

      Hey Duncan.

      So far so good. My ankle and shoulder are fine. I’ll be writing a follow up post soon-ish. I’m currently looking for a fatigue mat, and an interested in the KyBounder by KyBun.

  • Duncan MacIntyre
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    Duncan MacIntyre Duncan MacIntyre

    Thanks for the KyBounder mat suggestion. Looks like a really nice product.

    • Barto
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      Barto Barto

      Hopefully it is for the price :S
      I’m in the process of ordering one from Switzerland and I’ll be doing a report once I’ve used it for a while.