standing desk, attempt the second.

In a previous professional life, I was a help desk guy and then a systems administrator. With minor exceptions, that means I’ve had a desk job for the last sixteen years. I’ve probably spent six hours or more in a chair almost every day since 1996.

Well, it turns out that the body isn’t really made for sitting in a chair all day long, and my body has increasingly made it clear to me that I’m not treating it with the care it needs to get me through the next twenty or thirty years without regular applications of anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections. If pain is nature’s way of saying “You’re Doing It Wrong”, then I’m doing it Very Wrong, Indeed. I’ve had recurring sciatica episodes since at least 1999, but they’ve increased in severity, so when the last (thankfully brief) episode tapered off last week, I figured it was high time to take firm measures, lest I find myself walking on a crutch by the time I hit 50. I can’t change what I do–writing and wrangling kids around the house–but I am certainly able to change the way I’m doing it.

At the follow-up visit with my doctor last week, I requested a referral to a Physical Therapist, discussed a bunch of options, and had her show me exercises and such. Then I went to modify my work space arrangement, to keep myself from sitting at a desk most of the day and relapsing back into the same issues every ten or twelve months.

I’ve tried the standing desk setup for a day, but took it down again because my feet were getting too tired–and, truth be told, because we do what’s comfortable and familiar, and go back to the old ways as soon as we have an excuse. This time, I wanted to make sure that cheating would be more difficult. They make lovely hydraulic desks that change from sitting to standing height at the press of a button, but knowing myself, I’d use it as a sitting desk 90% of the time if adjusting it is as easy as flicking a switch. So I moved the sitting chair out of the room altogether, put a cheap coffee table from the WalMarts on top of my regular desk, and put a bar stool in front of it, to have a place to perch my derriere when my feet start aching. I used a monitor riser to boost the screen to eye level, and a footstool underneath the desk to change leg positions as needed.

It’s not pretty, but it works for now:

Eventually, I want to get a dedicated, purpose-built standing desk that doesn’t look cobbled together, but until I fully get used to the arrangement, the coffee table trick will have to do.

I spent all day working in front of the standing desk yesterday, including the customary evening World of Warcraft session with the wife. When everyone went to bed, I kept on working some more. The key to the new setup is the little bar stool–it gives me a place to sit down for a moment to take the load off my feet occasionally, but it doesn’t invite slumping onto it and just vegging in front of the monitor. After thirty seconds or so on the stool, I find that I actually want to get up and move again.

So far, I’ve identified two major differences in the standing desk’s favor. One is the ability to move around in front of the desk. You shift the weight on your legs, you can take an easy step back from the desk, you can walk away easily altogether and pace as you think something through–the standing desk feels a lot more liberating from a movement perspective. The second difference is more of a mindset thing. When I sit down in a regular chair, there’s a certain inertia that makes me want to stay there, and getting out of the chair is a bit of a hassle. Also, sitting and looking at the screen is passive to the point of trance sometimes, to the point where you end up sitting and clicking on stuff just because you’re sitting down. With the standing desk, there’s no effort involved in stepping away from the screen, so you do it more often and with less inertia.

I’m going to give this setup a week or two and see how it goes. I’m on Day Two now, and the feet are like “WTF?” on occasion, but my back is holding up fine. I’m definitely moving around much more, and it doesn’t feel like I’m just sitting down to get sucked into the Intertubes for hours. If my body finds that it prefers the standing desk, I’ll look at buying a permanent solution that doesn’t look like, well, a WalMart coffee table on an old desk. Stay tuned for more exciting tales from the ergonomics front…

138 thoughts on “standing desk, attempt the second.

  1. abnormalist says:

    Desks are incredibly easy to build for anyone with basic wood working skills and tools. Draw out a design of what you want in the end, flesh it out with actual wood dimensions as it will help you find the failings before you start cutting, and then you get exactly what YOU want rather than what someone else thinks you should want.

    • You know, very popular this summer clothes? ” styshops “. AF, t-shirts,

    • years ago, in an office in Connecticut, I sat on what was called an ergonomic chair. It was an affair with no back and one basically kneeled upon a platform abd rested one’s butt on a somewhat higher platform.

      Thanks to your post I will bhe looking for not a standing desk but an ergonomic chair – the most comfortable chair I ever used.

      I’m not so willing to stand up at my desk for hours at a time because as a speaker/coach I stand up lots during the week. Nonetheless, your articled is brilliant. Thanks for really good ideas.

  2. guffaw says:

    Good for you!
    I’ve neuropathy issues, and, sadly, sitting or standing for any prolonged time is unwise.
    I must take breaks and go supine.
    Cool that you can realize your concept, tho!
    gfa

  3. perlhaqr says:

    As someone who spends a fuck-ton of time in front of a computer and has catastrophic back pain problems, I look forward to hearing about your results from this experiment. 🙂

  4. Ziggy says:

    History of repeated (2-3 times a year), flat out in bed from similar issues.

    Was fortunate a number of years ago to discover that my issues were due to an imbalance between right and left legs, the left being weaker. Lucky that clutch use from driving a standard since then has resolved better than 95% of my own issues.

    Not mentioning the above as other than establishing that I do know what it is like.

    Might consider use of a good commercial grade cushioned foot mat at the desk to relieve the foot discomfort?????

  5. Joat says:

    On the foot issue, find a good shoe store and get a pair of good walking shoes. I have back and knee pain, I spend a lot of my day walking and standing on concrete floors the right shoes made a world of difference in the amount of pain I have.

  6. Ziggy says:

    I have a history of repeated (2-3 times a year), flat out in bed from similar issues from as early as I can remember.

    I was fortunate a number of years ago to discover that my issues were due to an imbalance between right and left legs, the left being weaker. Lucky that clutch use from driving a standard since then has resolved better than 95% of my own issues.

    Not mentioning the above as other than establishing that I do know what it is like.

    You might consider use of a good commercial grade cushioned foot mat at the desk to relieve the foot discomfort?????

  7. Will says:

    I suggest you look for a shoe store that specializes in orthotics? friendly footwear. Foot/leg issues seem to run in my family. A sister (who has a history of sciatica) went to one, and got fitted with some helpful inserts. She brought another sister to the store, and the owner watched her walk in and informed her she had a short leg. Which I also have. I’ve been told that that may not cause noticeable problems when younger, but tends to surface later in life. My short leg was noticed by a D.O. during an adjustment, but it didn’t seem to be a problem then. Maybe five years later, I noticed I couldn’t walk a straight line down a grocery store aisle. I realized I was walking an arc, and then re-orienting to correct my off angle. Went home and stuffed the thickest insert I could fit into my boot, and that made a huge difference in walking, and general leg comfort. I really need a thicker spacer for that leg, but can’t afford the special shoes at this time. Unfortunately, I have really wide feet, so can’t fudge by using a wider shoe size to fit a thicker insole. Even the half thick insert I’m using really helps.

  8. Antibubba says:

    If you are going to sit, get rid of the chair. Get one of those exercise balls, the kind that inflate. Find one about knee high, and sit on it instead. The idea is that, since you are never 100% stable, your back and stomach muscles engage to keep you upright. You end up working the muscles while you sit!

    • The Wandering Story Hunter says:

      I was going to make this exact same suggestion! My dad does this a lot at work and it works great for him. Good way to multitask your time too🙂

  9. Gnarly Sheen says:

    They’ve stopped selling them now, but Ikea used to make a fantastic desk called the Jerker (yeah I know, lulz). One of the advantages of it was being able to set the work level height to just about any place you want. If you google “IKEA jerker,” you’ll find some really neat setups.

    The “successor” desk is called the Frederik. You can find it here http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60111123

    Hopefully this is helpful and I’m not telling you something you already know🙂

  10. ILTim says:

    A coworker recently swapped to a standing desk, electrically height adjustable and an adjustable chair. Then he picked up a cushy mat to stand on, and found that they can be fairly advanced. The thing that stood out to me is that some use variable density foams or random shapes inside so the mat is not perfectly flat/smooth when you put weight on it. This is supposed to keep joints moving around a bit and simulate activity.

    Standing and walking around all day is apparently different from standing dead-stationary all day.

  11. Phssthpok says:

    I’ll second the recommendations for good shoes to alleviate the aching feet. Having spent 15yrs+/- on my feet in a heavy industrial shop (building railroad freight-cars) I know from footwear.

    I started off with the cheapest steel toed boots I could find, because I figured I’d go through them quickly, and well… I was a cheap bastage.

    Finally after my first five years or so (and only my second pair of boots) I decided to spring for some good quality boots ($150+).

    AMAZING difference in foot/leg pain, tiredness, and overall productivity. Cheap as I am I have learned that there ARE some things worth paying for (the other one was a welding hood filter with actual GOLD plating…srsly…if you weld you HAVE to try those things!).

    I’ll also back you up on the ‘leaning stool’….I did the same thing all the time at work, leaning against a table or the ‘bed’ of a shear for brief moments to let the legs (ankles mostly) rest for a moment.

  12. Phssthpok says:

    Followup:

    Speaking from experience the extra cushy standing pads will actually CAUSE more problems for unaccustomed feet/ankles. Try are such a soft surface that, much like the exercise ball suggestion, you are constantly having to balance yourself which wears out your ankles (makes them tired).

    It may sound counter intuitive, but I’d suggest a hard surface (no more than an area rug or carpet) and ni less than 6″ high shoes/boots (8 or 9″ being better) for ankle support. A good pair of hiking boots would be optimal.

  13. Shootin' Buddy says:

    You need yoga, it will change your life. Move pain away.

    Don’t worry about being the only dude there; you are too old to care.

    If you are looking for ideas on a standing desk I can e-mail a photo of mine if you want ideas.

  14. Ed Skinner says:

    Can’t see the floor — what is it? Several readers mentioned shoes … and orthotics. Those — both if needed — are a must because you’re basically spending the day on your feet (which is what our hunter ancestors did — maybe you should throw a spear at the LCD from time to time?]. I have a “coffee shop standing table” from a restaurant supply store. The top surface is 41.5″ from the floor and perfect for mouse and keyboard pounding while standing.
    You are “spot on” about the energy when standing vs sitting. I teach for a living and in face-to-face classes, I won’t sit down for 8-9 hours. And when teaching “remote classes” (via a desktop sharing website and a conference call), I’m still up on my feet (and gesturing with my hands even though no one can see it) the whole day. If I sit, my energy disappears and, well, I’m boring. (Maybe I’m boring all the time but at least I don’t notice it when standing.)

  15. The Other Jay says:

    Marko-

    A car wreck at 15 left me with a fused L3/L4, and a comment from the doctor: “You’ll feel okay now, but it’ll give you a lot of pain when you’re older.” 33 years later, turns out he was right.

    The PT is a good idea, but you may get more help from an Occupational Therapist, who can talk you through how to do things better and trigger less frequently.

    Will is right on with the orthotic suggestion. Maybe you don’t need them, but they helped correct me just enough to trigger less often.

    Antibubba also has a great suggestion. I laughed it off at first, but now agree with Mrs. ToJ that it really works very well to build up the core support.

    Ask your PT if yoga is a choice for you. You may already be too special for that.

    My final combination of furniture was an adjustable-height drafting table and a kneeling chair (globalindustrial.com).

    The kneeling chair is adjustable enough that I found a setting that fit me (after I also adjusted by brain to it), and has a memory foam pad to cushion the parts I want cushioned.

    No back on the chair means I can’t slouch or lean onto one arm, which are the behaviors which get me into trouble.

    The drafting table let me adjust both the height and the angle, so that I could kneel/sit very upright and reach everything without having to over-reach or twist repetitively much. The relative height of the drafting table causes me to reach “out” rather than “out and down” for most things, and if I lean on it, I’m still completely upright.

    Pain Management is not just for sissies. A good pain management MD can pinpoint specific nerve areas and temporarily deaden them so that they can calm down, without you having to take enough Vicodin for you to forget which one is Q and which is L. I have a co-worker outside of Plymouth who used PainCare and speaks well of the one in Plymouth. I can personally recommend UT/Southwestern Medical Center. Roadtrip?

    Anyway, that’s been my solution combination of choice, which has gotten me back probably 3 weeks a year.

    Best Regards,
    Jay

  16. libertyman says:

    Have a look at this website:
    http://standupdesks.com/computer_desk.shtml

    Lots to choose from. Viel Glück!

  17. FormerFlyer says:

    I spent a fun filled 3 months on my back a few years ago thanks to 2 bulged and 1 ruptured disk. I was advised to switch to a stand up desk. Problem is, the good ones cost like sin, and the mediocre ones wobble and are horribly laid out. My wife found me a solution that was affordable, simple and effective.

    We bought two 3-drawer filing cabinets that, when full of files, are only slightly less solid than concrete pilings. Placed on top of them is a pre-fab kitchen counter piece (60″: long, solid, with rounded edges and a backsplash that I love now that I’m used to it). The kitchen counter piece was off the shelf from the Big Box Of Home Improvement Near You, was available in a variety of colors, patterns and layouts, and cost about $60. Use a little bit of rubberized no-skid matting to keep them from moving around, don’t bother attempting to use anything fancier to attach it to the files, because it won’t move.

    No shortage of desk space, desk is solid as a rock, height is perfect. Plenty of desk drawer space (use the top drawers of the filing cabinet as storage, they’re HUGE). A rolling bar stool to occasionally take the strain off the feet rounds out the ensemble, and the bottom bar on the stool makes a good footrest for one foot when you’re standing to mix up your posture from time to time.

    Life is MUCH BETTER now!

  18. Außenseiter says:

    Standing desks are okay. I have one from IKEA.. the only problem with it is, that the height is adjustable only in 10cm increments.

    One problem I’ve noticed with standing desks is, that my feet sometimes to swell after 10-12 hours of standing upl

  19. Ian Vaughan says:

    Another option- look what people forced to sit for 12-14 hours a day sit on- http://www.suburbanseats.com/

    http://www.seat-specialists.com/on-highway-commercial-vehicles/class-8-truck/view-all-products.html

    These seats have lots of options, multiple airbags in seat and back to give you just the right support. All you need to do is to mount one onto a good quality office base, get a small car style tire inflator compressor, ($15.00?) and you can have the seating designed for long hours.

    Ian

  20. Ken says:

    Until I got moved to a cubicle where it was no longer possible, back when I worked for The Man I raised a drawing table to standing height and used that as a desk for a good long time. (I got the inspiration from reading Herman Wouk’s War and Remembrance, in which Admiral Spruance was depicted as using a standing desk. I’m thinking about how to get back to that now that I’m going in for an academical.

  21. Windy Wilson says:

    Hemingway, Churchill and Rumsfeld also used standing desks, in the case of Hemingway’s, it appears to be around 40 inches high, which is near Ed Skinner’s 41.5 inches. Check out Williamlanday.com for a photo of Papa in front of his desk at a friend’s house in Malaga.

  22. Cath says:

    I’m trying this experiment right now at work, and I have to say I like standing more than sitting, although I do need to take a break every once in a while. like you.

    Cath

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  24. artreviewed says:

    Thats really cool! And it soubles your desk space as you have that bit under the coffee table! Think I could do with something like that as I broke my coxcyx a few years ago and it still gets painful when sitting down now at times! Standing is better than sitting too as its much healthier for you, the blood can pump round quite happily and not go accumulating in your legs and you can become fitter and lose weight by standing too as you are more likely to move around! 🙂 Hope it solves your pain problems!

  25. I agree with those who have suggested good shoes and floor mats.

  26. Miss July Trinity says:

    this is very clever. i think i could use one like this at work, if only my employers care about ergonomics.

  27. Ryan says:

    I notice you have an iPad there too. Maybe to give your feet a break, when you’re reading web pages you could use that and walk around the house doing it?

  28. wesley says:

    This is a nice post thanks

    a href=“http://www.afvallenmetsporten.net“ >Mijn website

  29. Moose says:

    This is really neat – and I don’t think it looks bad either! I’ve never heard of this before but it makes perfect sense. And look at all that extra desk space you have under the top desk!
    I can imagine that standing up to work changes your energy and makes you feel more proactive – and if you need to file something or get a book for reference you’re maybe more likely to do it straight away? Fascinating idea.

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  31. Interesting idea! I think it’s true that when we’re sitting in front of the computer we’re less likey ot get up out of that chair…..

    Maybe that’s why some places like airports (that offer computer and internet access), don’t have any seats in front of the computers. You are forced to stand if you want to use use the comp…..maybe they do this b/c they don’t want you to stay at the comp too long!!😀

  32. ALIVE aLwaYs says:

    Friend, you have gone to extreme lengths, you really must hate sitting, how come so late, did someone say something🙂

  33. ceceliafutch says:

    I have been using an old, wooden (antique ?) draftsman’s desk that my dad used to have. I have a swivel bar chair, and there is a foot bar that I use to rest a foot – alternating right and left. I also do leg and feet exercises as I stand at my desk (learned in physical therapy for severe back and sciatica problems.) Since I’ve gone to that desk almost two years ago, I find that I rarely have back problems. I use to also have severe charlie horses and foot cramps. Those, too, have almost disappeared. The trick is to NOT stand stationary at the desk, but to shift weight back and forth, march in place slowly but somewhat steadily, shift back and forth from toe to heel, etc. Keep moving, however slowly, and lean on the stool when need be, walk away for five minutes every hour or so. I am not the same person! Good luck with your experiment. Hope it works as well for you as it has for me.

    BTW, congrrats on being fp! I am subscribing to your blog and hope to see updates on how this experiment is working for you!

  34. leadinglight says:

    Sitting at a desk can also stump your creativity.

  35. goldenflower says:

    Nice desk

  36. huffygirl says:

    Maybe an occupational therapist will stop by your blog and give you an online workplace evaluation. 🙂 Very good attempt and looks like you’re getting some good suggestions. How is the keyboard height? – you might need to tweak that a little with a keyboard tray.

    Happy standing – it got you FP’d and you may just revolutionize the workplace.

  37. Great post and very useful replies. Thank you for posting!

  38. Lindsay says:

    I’ve always wanted to try one of those treadmill desks for a few days! I’d say ” … for a day” but I’m pretty sure I’d be falling on my face for the first day or two, LOL. But I’d love to try a super slow walking pace while at the desk. Hmmm!
    http://www.treadmill-desk.com/

  39. Great idea, and something definitely worth trying. Hope it turns out well for you.

  40. Faaz says:

    I commend you for this. I made a similar thing using a picnic table as my desk and a bed breakfast table to prop up my computer.

    The biggest problem I came across was not having any support for my hands. There was little to no space left for me to let my arm rest on.

  41. This looks like my brother’s desk. I thought he was the only one with a giant monitor screen. btw The state of the art new classroom building I’m teaching in has classrooms with student tables of varying heights, and offices with computers set on tables/counters of varying heights.

  42. sportsjim81 says:

    It’s always funny to see what the mind comes up with when the only option seems to be throwing stuff together MacGuyver style and seeing what sticks. Well done! Oh, and I’ve been thinking of changing my blog theme lately and this is one I had on my list of possibilities. I love it now that I see it in action!

  43. aunaqui says:

    Haha, this was so neat. Very descriptive and.. even, logical. I became so AFRAID when I started reading about how working a sit-down-office-job for years has affected your health; I’m nineteen, and just recently got hired full-time at a Credit Union. While I don’t have the liberty of rearranging my station to the degree YOU were able to, I am going to make a conscious, determined effort to stand atleast 1/3rd of the time I’m here. Thanks for sharing!

    Aun Aqui

  44. mitzimagpie says:

    After reading this post a while back (before you got Freshly Pressed, congratulations!), I researched the whole sitting/standing issue, and decided to give a standing desk a try, both at home and at work. The first ten days or so my legs and feet felt terrible, but then I got used to it. After about three weeks even when I took “sit breaks” I found myself quickly standing up again because my back (and my neck and shoulders) feel so much better when I do. I’ve since invested in Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts for my shoes, and now the standing desk works perfectly for me. Another nice fringe benefit that I attribute entirely to sitting less: I’ve lost five pounds in one month!

    PS: I’ve been lurking for a while. I’m also a former German who recently became naturalized. Tschüss!

  45. alibia says:

    There is such a thing as a sit-stand desk. These types of workstations have been around for years. They come and go as any trend. Any reason you may be facing an issue is poor seating. Companies sometimes buy uniform seating that does not adjust to individual needs. The most expensive chair on the block is not best either. A great chair is not just something to dream about.

  46. brittany says:

    i need to try this! i sit down all day at work and constantly have a ping in my shoulder and neck. not to mention read the articles about how bad sitting all day is, while sitting.

    its funny that you mentioned the fact that sitting makes you want to stay sitting, and it seems like so much effort to get up. sometimes i hear people in my office saying “ugh, i have to get up for that!?” they say you should get up at least once an hour if you are stuck at a desk all day.

    good for you for trying it out! it’s tough but much better for the body (and a longer life!). i’m moving shortly and will have to try this out.

  47. eeburrah says:

    prolonged standing can put you at risk for peripheral vascular disease because it can cause venous stasis which may results in blood clots. the best thing to do is to make sure you have constant circulation by walking and doing leg exercises. in terms of health, the opposite of sitting isn’t standing. you should definitely talk with your healthcare provider about this.

  48. Jim says:

    What?? What? Why is this? Before I take minor issue with the salience and quality of this discourse, am I for real this guy is saying…
    “In a previous professional life, I was a help desk guy and then a systems administrator. With minor exceptions, that means I’ve had a desk job for the last sixteen years [makes you actually remarkably similar to MANY Americans – You know all those tall buildings in cities]. I’ve probably spent six hours or more in a chair almost every day since 1996.
    Well, it turns out that the body isn’t really made for sitting in a chair all day long, and my body has increasingly made it clear to me that I’m not treating it with the care it needs to get me through the next twenty or thirty years without regular applications of anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections.”
    IT newtwork solution: I have this problem which I’ll call “having a desk job” so I’ll write some code and hack together a hydraulic desk that converts to a standing desk with the flip of a switch. Then I’ll blog about how standing at my hydraulic standing desk makes my feet tire so I’ll further the hack by making my chair less accessible and explain it all my leather blogger theme blog because, again, I have a desk job.
    OR…
    You could just get out and do a little exercise a few days a week and sit in a desk like a normal person.

  49. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I think the problem is not just sitting or standing exclusively, it is pure inactivity for long periods of time. I worked at one job that allowed me to get up and walk around periodically, even though I was pretty cubicle bound. Then I went to a help desk job that required long hours on the phone. After just a month or so I could feel my body turning into a weak, sore pile of blubber.
    As soon as I quit that crappy job I felt better!

  50. Gordy says:

    Nice setup. I was just thinking about this same issue yesterday. What I did was alternate between my kitchen counter with my laptop for 2 hours, then sit down for another 2. Felt pretty good.

  51. thk127 says:

    You can stand up longer and be comfortable with an anti-fatigue mat. They are used in warehouses for shop workers that have to stand all day. I think they really work. I can’t wait to see your end result for this experiment.

  52. Quite a genius set up I have to say. Your feet will get used to it- long time ago I worked in a hospital- and was up on my feet most of the day- it was agonyt for the first week- but believe me- after 2 weeks- it’s like you had been on your feet 24/7 all your life…lol. I’ll be back for updates… ;o)

  53. saramitchell says:

    I just read the thing going around the Internet recently about how sitting is killing us. I wrote a similar piece on my blog, except you’ll think I’m really whiny because I’ve been working for only a year! I just hate it though. My legs feel cramped up and painful all the time. It starts after about an hour at my desk and by the end of the day I am dying to walk around. I wish there was a way to have a standing desk at work, but I think it will be a number of years before employers even consider it.

  54. Great Idea as I am sitting at my desk wondering why Not that I want to stand all day. but sitting all day is killing my back. Lots of great suggestions for all the readers out there. I think a stool would help plus with a stool, you have to work on your posture anyway. so to have the tall desk and a stool, I think I might have to look into changes for my workspace. Thanks for the idea.🙂

  55. happypoppeye says:

    WTF …but hey, anyone who names their blog “the munchkin wrangler” gets my vote.
    Congrats on the FP,
    John

  56. I’m for it. For those who are concerned about “working for the man” and not being allowed to midify your workstation, keep in mind that if you choose a table that matched the office decor to put on your desk most employers won’t care.

    Great post!

  57. saltybi11 says:

    No one was made for sitting all day, thats why we have muscles… whenever my back hurts, I lay down, pull my knees up to my chest, wrap my arms around them and pull them up tight to my chest and kinda roll around a little from head to toe. Works like a charm…

  58. Steve says:

    With out a doubt exercise and regular physical activity is probably the magic medicine.

    Little is mentioned about all the hazards of the computer-internet age – – and they are very real.

    A good topic which needs to be explored for everyones general well being.

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  60. gloriadelia says:

    For your feet: My hair dresser has a soft pad he stands on all day. All the other stations have them, too. They’re very cozy to stand on. Not sure where to find them, but they might be worth the search.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  61. Abigail says:

    I spend a lot of time on my laptop. My goal in the house we are finishing up is to build a shelf near the breakfast bar where I can stand and use my laptop. I think your makeshift idea is very clever.

    I read that Thomas Jefferson actually had a standing desk for writing his letters! So, we are joining a long line of standers.

    The stool is a great idea. I will have to get one, too.

    Thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  62. I’ve heard standing while you work at the computer can help you loose weight.

  63. bkool87 says:

    I’ve been contemplating doing this myself due to my back problems. I’m just not quite sure if it will help the situation since my back starts killing me when I stand too long. I’m letting my coworker be the guinea pig and test the standing desk out🙂

  64. I am woking on a blog right now about my stand up work station and how it evolved.🙂 I work at a manufacturing plant and finally they got tired of looking at my paper box and catalogue desk so they made me one. I’ll let you know when I get it posted! I have lost over 20 pounds since I started standing and reduced my chiropractor trips by at least half!!! Good post and great idea!! We were made to stand and move! Congrats!!🙂 AmberLena

  65. Wow, get freshly pressed and all of the solutions come whizzing by. I’ll be back to see how things are going as I sit in a office most of the day as well. It is not always as easy as getting out to exercise, you have to make adjustments in your work area too.

  66. I can appreciate your pain. I’m pushing 50 and feel it every day because of a poorly designed work space. Buying my new keyboard and putting it on the proper height of a pullout has helped immensely, along with daily back stretches. Another good website to checkout is GeekDesk dot com (I have no financial interest!). Hope this helps…and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
    JM

  67. The Hook says:

    Good for you, helping out your fellow human beings! Good work.

  68. Lesley says:

    Good thinking! I’ve noticed that I get so lethargic when sitting in front of the computer, and it’s interesting that simply being on my feet can keep me from being seduced into total listlessness. Although, I haven’t modified my desk at all, so I’m probably doing a number on my back, stooping to see the computer screen and such. (Where’s my IKEA coffee table when I need it?!)
    I look forward to the follow up article. I hope it works for you!

  69. CJ says:

    Very interesting post. I sit at a desk all day for my job and have repeatedly asked the boss for a desk with an option to sit/stand. I have a footstool, but no other options to change position. I can’t even stretch my legs out because of the construction of the desk. Any companies care about employee comfort and health? At the end of the day my body aches and my eyes are strained (the monitor is too close and can’t be moved back any further!) Anyway, thanks for the post and for a place to vent.🙂

  70. asyuli4211 says:

    That’s sounds like a good idea. I may try that out sometime

  71. Lanius says:

    @CJ
    The company won’t let you get your own desk to use?

  72. Way to be resourceful! I had a cobbled-together experience of my own last week: a co-worker needed something like 500 documents scanned to her (literally–each page needed to be scanned as a separate document), so I was standing for hours. The feet started to complain, and the law firm was short of bar stools (wouldn’t you know it), so I ended up balancing a stack of books of Federal Law on a desk chair so I could perch my bottom when I could feel the blood pooling in my ankles. Brought me back to the days of booster seats😛

  73. Pollyanna says:

    Hmm interesting. You are so right about the tendency to just click and vanish into the ether just because we’re sitting down. I hate that. Be interested to see how you go.
    Btw, yoga is great for stretching out all those knotty bits that come from hours of bum on chair.

  74. Kai says:

    Wow! Wonderful article

  75. Add a balance board under it for good measure!

  76. Roda says:

    Dear Jason,
    I read your post with concern. I too am a writer and I am at my desk most of the day. May I request you to visit my several blogs and read what I have shared. All illnesses have a certain way of beginning…when you understand that truth it will set you free to live a happy healthy long life …so what’s the target age 100+ ..eminently achievable dear sir.
    My promise to you through my book.

  77. myfilthyroom says:

    It’s not just sciatica, you can also get hemorrhoids thru constant sitting.

  78. John Creasy says:

    Cool setup, also being on your feet also burns calories more than it does sitting down so it’s a win win situation. While it also gives you the option of being a Jerry Maguire and moving around while on the phone.

  79. Rachael says:

    I like that you tackled the problem on your own and came up with a working setup for your office.

    Maybe they will invent a drug that completely prevents back pain in 10 years!
    Come on, I’m allowed to dream.

  80. florence says:

    I’ve been thinking of switching to a stand up desk myself. Thanks for posting this!

  81. dwhitsett says:

    I work at a computer (writing, reading) several hours a day and my back is damaged from doing too much of it. Just yesterday I read this: http://www.ittakesbrains.com/TheMostDangerousThing.html. This began the process of cobbling together a standing desk of my own. I am 69, overweight with back and leg pains. I will try to keep up with your experiment. I believe we will all benefit.

  82. 小小 says:

    Great idea !

  83. thor27 says:

    The body has to move or you get problems. Ergonomic solutions help some. Have a great day and checkout me
    at http://thor27.wordpress.com

  84. enjoibeing says:

    very cool, i need a new desk now, maybe something more tech friendly since i have multiple hard drives a few laptops and a tv haha its all about being efficient

  85. Congratulations on making the transition to the standing desk, it is one that you will be very happy with in a fairly short amount of time. Your body will continue to transition and your comfort level will shoot through the roof. As you mentioned just having the ability to be freely mobile is amazing and makes working at a desk for 8 hours much more welcoming. I noticed that you are having some trouble with your feet, I found that I am most comfortable barefoot. Standing barefoot encourages me put more weight on the balls of my feet and has made noticeable improvements in my posture. Once again congratulations, it is a difficult transition to make but stick with it. I assure you, after you feel comfortable and your body adapts to its natural position, sitting in front of a computer will no longer be appealing.

    – Justin

  86. Steve says:

    Totally agree and more. After spending almost all last year in a chair for ungodly hours it’s going to take me months to get back into shape!

  87. shenanitim says:

    Funny. At work they removed the chair in front of the sign computer to stop us from hiding back there. As with you, we found ways around it (i.e. standing around the trash can and gossiping).

  88. Great post! Keep us posted on your progress. Having worked as a pharmacist for many years, standing always seemed like torture until I worked as a director the last 8 years and sit at a desk alot. It is definitely another kind of tired. Half sitting/half standing would probably be my preference because either for too many hours can make me tired!

  89. xtalball says:

    One hundred and some years ago, when to the “Enlightened” crowd the science of Physics seemed to need just a few more finishing touches to be completed, the calculations done by Max Planck standing up at a lectern, as he habitually would, opened the new era of Quantum Physics. The transistor, the laser etc descend from that work.
    Conclusion: Work done standing up can have powerful consequences.

  90. I had a job that required me to stand pretty much all day, eight or more hours every day. you can get used to it if you keep at it, and while comfortable shoes help, just getting through the period of adapting to being on your feet all the time is the most critical part. having read your post from my (semi)comfortable chair, though, I have to ask: how *do* you handle using a mouse?

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  92. gmomj says:

    I’m all fall doing any sort of work in the prone position. I find chewing food while doing said work while prone also good…preferably chocolate. Very comfortable.
    Seriously though. I don’t think standing for hours on end for an individual with a back injury is such a great idea. Staying on the move? Good. Standing for hours? Not so much..I don’t care what shoes you are wearing.
    Exercise everyday to strengthen your back and to stretch the area of the sciatica, will be helpful to your ongoing back issues.Although technically the sciatic being nerve doesn’t stretch, you can alleviate the pressure of the piriformis on nerve itself and the nerve does length with those moves. Pulling knee tochest and opposite shoulder.( I’m not a doctor I just play one on TV.)
    I have a back injury from being mugged 2 years ago. I can’t stand on my feet for hours or walk for hours…or sit…. I have found some measure of consistent relief with a portable T.E.N.S. I highly recommend it with a doctor’s okay. Here is a post on T.E.N.S.
    http://gmomj.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/pain-managementt-e-n-s-works/

  93. Carmon Thomas says:

    I move my laptop around…sometimes on top of a chest of drawers that is about chest high to me & sometimes on top of a sideboard that’s about waist high and sometimes I sit. My lower legs and feet bother me so I march in place while I’m working…that helps some. It’s either that or take a quick break and climb some stairs for a minute or two.

  94. caterpillar says:

    Interesting solution. I’m curious to see how it works out.

  95. Colin L Beadon says:

    I was having a bit of prostrate problem, and began to think I was sitting too much at my computer. I cut out beef and cut back on sugar and rum, upped my exercise regimes, and built a small table above my desk so I could stand at my computer instead of sit. Quite a few avid writers, do stand at their computers where it is easy to drift around as they think. Anyhow, if it helps anybody, so far, touch wood, my PSA count dropped like the doctor couldn’t believe. No pills used.

  96. bajrak says:

    Interesting solution. :))

  97. george says:

    ergonomics aspect for your healthy and faster working, inspiring post.🙂

  98. Lenny says:

    Where I work we made the same discovery as you. For one hour or more, we stand up. Sitting makes you tired. You loose a lot of motivation and energy.

    Now we work better and faster. But standing up whole day long is bad too🙂

  99. Before my semester ended, I was sitting down all morning in class, sitting down on the drive to work, and continuing to sit during work. I have a desk job, too, and sometimes I just have to stand up and help customers that way (I work at a bank, so the counter comes up enough to where it’s not awkward). My back hurts pretty much all the time. Thankfully, from taking ballet for so many years, my posture is pretty good, so that takes off some of the tension. My cousin took me to get a massage last year for my birthday, though, and every time my back starts aching really bad, I yearn to go and have someone work on my back again. Massages are so great.

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      We always look for women who have back problems and ask if they want us to walk on their backs. You have to have good balance, and not allow yourself to fall on her, though she might squeak and wriggle if you are unlucky. On the other hand,…..

  100. Daniela says:

    This conversation is amazing, I keep hearing about standing desks but haven’t had a chance to try it myself. Has it had an effect on how you think while you’re working or how much you get done when you’re in front of the computer? Are you spending the same amount of time overall there that you did before?

  101. nomoreh8 says:

    I’m glad you found a way to ease your backpain, and I hope that eventually in the future someone will invent something of this nature for schools? Just a thought.

  102. halfwayto50 says:

    Way to take matters into your own hands! I would say this is a great excuse for nightly massages from your spouse or professional ones for that matter! Get one of those Hang-Up devices. You lock your feet in and hang upside down for a few minutes twisting around to lengthen your spine. You may look like a bat for a few minutes, but my dad swears by it!

  103. Scott says:

    I must admit I envy you for such ingenuity! My dad’s like that–can come up with such practical solutions to problems of impracticality!

  104. Yasir Imran says:

    That is also a problem with me. My knee has great pain when I leave office. Infect office jobs are terrible only in this regard.

  105. Wow, so creative. Really smart to take care of yourself and try new things. I wish I could do the same. Old habits die hard. For some reason, many of us would rather wait till the doctor gives some horrible prognosis to get out butts moving. Good for you for taking the initiative.

    Congrats on FP and good luck with the new thingamajig desk🙂

  106. leem1001 says:

    Making a stand up desk won’t do a thing for you except make you feel less guilty about not doing what you need. All you need to a strict diet, (Talk to a nutritionist) and an exercise program. Talk to a personal trainer or just join a gym and use the internet as a source to increase your knowledge on what kind of workouts there are and how to do them properly. It’s never too late to start working out. Especially when you work a desk job!! With all that sitting around your body gets too much rest and not enough get up and go which is what you need sir. Last but not least. Someone your age would reap substantial rewards of using sustannon 250. The older you are the better steroids are for you. At your age as well you can easily get a doctor to subscribe it to you. Do a little research for yourself. Good luck.

  107. drumboytwo56 says:

    As with all things, I’m wondering when the standing desk crazy will pass just as the gym ball phase is passing as it ruins your back posture. Ideas like this seem good on paper but in the end, paying attention to exercise daily and diet end up being what is most beneficial to a person.

    Glad it’s working for you though.

    -A

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  109. Awesome, I like your inventive setup.😀 I’ve been working at a standing desk at home for a few years and recently got one for my office as well… I use an Ikea FREDRIK desk that’s permanently set up in a standing position, and then have a stool so I can sit occasionally, which I usually only do when I’m not feeling well. I love standing at work… it helps me stay awake and I don’t end the day in a ridiculous cramped position anymore…. instead I’m pretty active all day because I’m standing at my desk and usually dancing to music in my headphones. My office mates might not be as crazy about that part, but at least I’m entertaining. ;D

  110. thor27 says:

    Howdy again checking again. Got a new post today if you wanna read it.

  111. WOW. I admire your decision. It makes complete sense, too. I am really short, so I could probably do it with a normal desk, too.

  112. I truly sympathize with the back pain bit. Getting laid up with a kersproingy back is incredibly uncomfortable and painful. I first heard of a stand-up desk this weekend; I hope you’ll follow up and tell us how this introductory stand-up desk works for you.

  113. za says:

    Nice idea, standing desk! Never crossed in my mind before. I also work in front of desk most of the time. Usually I take a rest after 2 or 3 hours.

  114. I have constant lower back pain which makes for a painful day of work and painful driving trips that are over 1 hr. long. I have a friend that has an electric desk that lowers to sit at and raises so he can stand up. I need to get one so bad. I’m only 29 but I have the back of a 50 yr. old!

  115. That’s greatest idea I’ve heard in a while. Let us know how the setup works out. Thank you for sharing. Your customary Warcraft session made me smile. My wife usually opts for a yard work session.

  116. wrecmom says:

    It is very good that you’re trying to make these changes. My husband just had back surgery, and I have pain all over, as well. Wcan both relate. Good luck in your quest to remain standing, and I hope you find a comfortable way to do it. Interesting post. I had thought about a higher chair, myself.

  117. ~Posh~ says:

    Nice post! I’m the same – sitting in an office all day can make you feel lethargic and I often catch myself slouching. I went to a office furniture expo last year where it showcased a standing desk with…wait for it…a treadmill. I perhaps wouldn’t go that far but a standing desk seems like a great idea. I’ll be following your updates for sure!

  118. bretford says:

    Great post … want more info bretford

  119. gaycarboys says:

    Unusual. Let us know how it goes. I’m not sure I could do it myself but there you go. Maybe that’s why my bum is so big?:)

  120. Nick Mahler says:

    I came across this article by luck but I work at my desk atleast 8-10 hours standing because I can not sit down at the computer. The reason I have to stand is because of a very rare muscular disease that turns Muscles to bone called FOP. I have adapted to this condition by using the energy absorbing foam garage mats that interconnect that you buy in the tool section at sears. This was my budget solution to the $300+ gel standing mats that dont stand up to long term standing very well.

    I use a handheld Logitech diNovo keyboard to type most everything including this post and if I need more features then I use my fullsize keyboard. I use a wireless mouse to do all the mouse functions that I do. I work in Photoshop all day as well as multiple blogs and CMS for my online stores. I look forward to more posts like this and I am going to mention your blog on my CrookedGuy.com website🙂 Thanks for your time

    Nick

  121. I think your idea will work for me. I always experience low back pain due to prolong sitting.Maybe I’m gonna give standing desk a try.

  122. After reading this post a while back (before you got Freshly Pressed, congratulations!), I researched the whole sitting/standing issue, and decided to give a standing desk a try, both at home and at work. The first ten days or so my legs and feet felt terrible, but then I got used to it. After about three weeks even when I took “sit breaks” I found myself quickly standing up again because my back (and my neck and shoulders) feel so much better when I do. I’ve since invested in Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts for my shoes, and now the standing desk works perfectly for me. Another nice fringe benefit that I attribute entirely to sitting less: I’ve lost five pounds in one month!

  123. I have a history of repeated (2-3 times a year), flat out in bed from similar issues from as early as I can remember.

    I was fortunate a number of years ago to discover that my issues were due to an imbalance between right and left legs, the left being weaker. Lucky that clutch use from driving a standard since then has resolved better than 95% of my own issues.

    Not mentioning the above as other than establishing that I do know what it is like.

    You might consider use of a good commercial grade cushioned foot mat at the desk to relieve the foot discomfort?????

  124. Really interesting. I had been trying to come up w/ some decorative ideas for some of my more uniquely shaped liquor bottles. Thanks.

  125. Carl says:

    Very interesting post ::) thank you for your inspiration

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