My Standing Desk Experiment

I tried using a standing desk arrangement a few times last year, but never stuck with it. This time, though, I have incentive! First, I really want to start exercising and that right hip abductor muscle of mine is still not quite working the way it should yet, so I still haven’t been doing much walking. Since I’m doing so little walking, it makes sense to transform some of my sitting down work time to better-for-me standing time. Second, when I do end up doing some walking, which I have to do just to get from transit stops to my destination, I end up with a sore lower back.

It’s really the second thing that’s motivated me to give this another try. My back has been sore since Dylan and I rush-walked down five blocks so he wouldn’t be late for his dance class on Saturday. It was only five blocks – and yet the next day, my back was so sore!

So this morning, I hacked this standing desk:

Standing desk

The keyboard and mousepad are sitting on a lapdesk I haven’t used in ages, and that’s a banker’s box under my laptop and a bunch of black plastic organizers (my laptop normally sits on top of those plastic organizers anyway, as I like to have the screen at eye-level). You can’t see it, but there’s an old Wii fitness board on the floor for me to stand on; without it the keyboard is too high for me.

I used this setup to write this afternoon, and my back felt fine. I’m working on an index now, and my back still feels fine.

My legs, on the other hand? They feel like I’ve been walking for at least a few hours!

This time, though, I’m doing things smarter than the last few times I tried a standing desk arrangement. First, I’m using the Pomodoro technique, and when that timer goes, I’m alternating between sitting down for five-minute breaks with heading over to my pilates mat to do the exercises for my core and my hip abductor muscles. And I’m trying to remember to move occasionally while I’m standing, whether it’s walking in place or heel raises.

The best feeling? When I take a break and sit down, it actually feels like a break. Usually when I take a break I just go and sit somewhere else – same feeling, different location. Now I sit down and my legs are all, “ahhh, this is sooooo nice.”

I’m going to see how I feel after a week (if I can last a week! As I recall from my previous standing desk experiments, it’s the second day that’s the killer). This arrangement is nice because it’s pretty quick to alternate between standing and sitting – I just have to get rid of the lapdesk and the banker’s box when I want to sit down to work. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, because standing is so much better for you than sitting, and when I’m working, I can literally spend the entire day in a chair.

5 thoughts on “My Standing Desk Experiment

  1. Jemi Fraser

    Brave girl! I don’t think I could do that – I always end up leaning on one foot more than the other and throwing off my hip. Hope it works for you though – it’s a great idea! I’ve always wanted to try one of those treadmill desks though – anything to add more exercise is a fabulous idea.

  2. Heidenkind

    I’ve wanted to try a standing desk ever since I heard Ernest Hemingway swore by them-I can definitely see the appeal, but I also think for me it wouldn’t last very long. I don’t mind standing, but I do like to be sitting while I’m writing.

    If the standing desk doesn’t work out you might try an ergonomic chair. I got one like this: last year and it’s really helped with my back.

  3. Beth F

    I like the idea of a standing desk but I think I need too much room around me to work efficiently. On the other hand, I could try it for non-work situations.

  4. Ti

    I have a co worker who uses a standing desk set-up but her desk has an electronic lift which makes it easy to adjust.

    Another co worker uses a balancing ball to sit on instead of a chair. He said it constantly works his abs while he is just sitting there trying to balance on it.

    I just sit on a chair. LOL.


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