Concerned about the long hours I spend sitting in front of a computer working at home, I had been wanting to jump onto the standing desk bandwagon for a while. Finally, when Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “sitting is the new cancer” (which actually doesn’t really make much sense; it would have been better to say “sitting is the new smoking” or something like that), I decided it was finally time for me to take the plunge with a standing desk! Here’s more evidence of the harmful effects of sitting.
I took a poll of my Facebook friends to see if any of them had tried it. I got back mixed results. Some loved it; some hated it. Most were in-between. Most people said that they don’t stand 100% of the time. Mixing it up between sitting and standing was the only way they could make it work.
Creating My Standing Desk
Undaunted, I decided to go for it. I have an Ikea “Jerker” desk which pre-dates the whole standing desk craze, but is designed so that the desk and shelf heights are adjustable. At max height, they are at the perfect level for a standing desk! (Unfortunately, I don’t think Ikea makes the “Jerker” desk anymore, but you might be able to find one on Craigslist).
I got out my hex wrench and went to work. Moving the desk surface and shelf on this desk is definitely not something I would want to do often – not even once a year. It’s a real pain to disassemble, move, and reassemble. So, this was going to be a “permanent” standing desk. There would be no lowering it back down when I wanted to sit like some of the fancy standing desks out there. In order to be able to sit from time to time, I swapped out my desk chair for a padded bar stool from my kitchen.
I immediately loved being able to work standing up! Standing up gave me a jolt of energy and gave me motivation!
However, that didn’t last long. In less than an hour, my legs were tired and I was back sitting at the barstool. After using it for some weeks now, I probably only stand 20% of the time, if that much.
But, that doesn’t mean the experiment was a failure. I still love my standing desk! Why? Because standing once in a while is invigorating. Standing up re-energizes me and gets me through those slow times when I don’t feel motivated to work. To me, that alone was totally worth it!
So, am I reaping the health benefits of a standing desk if I only stand 10-20% of the time? I have no idea. But, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I love being able to just walk up to my desk and check my email really quickly without sitting down or leaning over. It feels more natural.
If you decide to take the plunge, here are my tips:
- If you want to save money, don’t get an expensive motorized desk that moves up and down. Just get a high desk and use a barstool or drafting stool to sit on. 29” high is a standard barstool height, and is what I use.
- The perfect desk height for me is 43 inches from the floor to the surface of the desk. I am between 5′ 9″ and 5′ 10″.
- My monitor heights are easily adjustable so I can tweak those when standing.
- I have not tried a foot pad because I have carpet, but I would definitely get a foot pad if I had hardwood floors.
- Don’t stand all day long!! Mix it up between standing and sitting
Converting Your Existing Desk
Here are some products on Amazon that can help you convert a regular desk to a standing desk:
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Check out this site for reviews of standing desks.
So, I love my standing desk, not necessarily for the health benefits, but for the variety in working positions it affords me and the energy it gives me. When I’m groggy, I can stand up and get re-energized.
What are your experiences with a standing desk? Do you love it or hate it? – Brian