Standing Up For Myself

standing desk

Those who have followed the posts know that last Tuesday, I switched to a standing desk full time at the office.  The monitors in the photo take some strength and skill to move up and down the vertical track that’s attached to the cubicle structure, so they do not switch back and forth fluidly.  I want to point that out because that’s why it’s an “all or nothing” situation. We can’t stand for 3 hours and sit for five.   We have to stand. Or sit.  If I decide I don’t like it, they can be moved back.

This is not an irreversible change, but so far, I don’t see myself changing back.

I did my research before I made this move. I read a lot about the health risks associated with sitting all day (which are compounded by the fact that I come home and write – sitting for 3-4 more hours after a seated workday).   I read about the health risks of standing all day (there are relatively fewer).

I talked to the other people in my office who had converted to standing desks, and notably those who had gone back to sitting.   (We found that anyone taller than about 5’5″ had a hard time with the ergonomics, because the monitor lift is limited by the height of the cubicle wall.) At a whopping 5’3″, this solution might actually be ergonomically superior for me than the seated desk was.

Going into my second week of standing, I’m taking an anti-fatigue mat with me to work. My pretty work shoes are not always supportive enough for a full day on my feet. Even I can’t make hiking boots work as a fashion statement every day.  I’m skipping heels entirely, and relying on flats.

After the first day, my hips, thighs and glutes felt like I’d done a workout.  After most of these days, I want to spend some time with my feet up. I also want to spend some time doing hamstring stretches.   But otherwise, I find my lower back actually hurts less now that I stand all day.   So do my neck and shoulder.  The only thing that hurts after standing all day are my feet and sometimes my ankles.  Hopefully the introduction of the squashy mat will help with that.

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t stand all day. I do sit down in meetings (which we have a lot of), and to eat lunch.  I do take breaks when I need them.

Aside from the health benefits, and the fact that standing burns twice as many calories as sitting (not to mention the energy required for dancing, fidgeting, and doing stealthy desk-yoga), the other thing I notice about standing is that I get more work done. I’m a little more energized, a little less distracted.  It will be an interesting experiment to continue.


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