Four Things I Learned Using the Standing Desk

I have been using the standing table for several months now and I love it. It makes me feel more productive , keeps me active and costs me almost nothing to set up. However, I was having trouble growing. If you’re thinking about setting up a permanent table, here’s what I found out so you don’t need to.

My setup is pretty simple, but it gets the job done. I have a simple desk / table that my roommate was about to get rid of, and on top of that, I have an Oristand that comfortably sits on my Apple Magic Keyboard , Logitech M510 wireless mouse, and Dell XPS 13 . The Oristand, which costs $ 25 plus shipping, is made of heavy cardboard and folds easily for travel. I also have a small organizer on my desk, some writer’s juice, and a couple of cigars that love to tease me all day.

Always wear shoes and invest in foot and knee protection

After just a few days of inactivity, I noticed my legs were hurting like hell. I worked from the comfort of my home and standing on a soft carpet, so I was barefoot. Why not? This is a huge mistake: no matter how soft your carpet is, you should always wear shoes, and preferably arch-supported shoes.

I have a couple of shoe options for my standing desk. The first is good running shoes, mine are New Balance Fresh Foam Vongos . They provide great cushioning for my legs and stability for my knees as I run around town, and they are great for long periods of standing. If you have a decent pair of sneakers, buy them. If not, make sure your shoes have decent cushioning, support, and possibly a custom insole . Another option is house slippers, which my grandmother never used. They have beautiful foam insoles, and I feel cool and fresh in them, which is sometimes more important than comfort.

It is also a good idea to increase the padding in the standing area. Even with shoes on, the softer you make the standing area, the better. I use a very thick Spoga Exercise Yoga Mat with Comfort Foam ($ 25) . It provides a soft padding and works well for my workouts. Two birds? Meet this super soft stone. Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple also recommends lifting one leg periodically while you are standing . This will help avoid back stiffness and give your legs a little rest. I use a small cardboard box for this (not pictured), but there are plenty of stepped chair options on the internet if you want something that looks better.

Stretching and regular movement

Working at a desk fatigues you much faster than sitting, but it also affects your joints and muscles. While it is good to take breaks from standing (more on that later), there are a few additional things you can do to keep your back, shoulders, arms, and legs from getting stiff and painful. The video above from the Focal Upright YouTube channel showcases some “table yoga” or simple stretches and exercises to help relax your back and help avoid chronic leg pain.

In the second video from the same channel, you will see some great stretches specially designed for your arms and shoulders. I compile them regularly and they help me a lot. I also try to incorporate exercise into my long standing days. I practice Lubricate the Groove workout , a concept developed by former Soviet Special Forces instructor Pavel Tsatsuline , where you get stronger by regularly doing strength exercises with lower reps and weights, but doing them more often than usual. workout. So I take a break to exercise every hour or two. I also spend a few minutes practicing basketball or playing guitar when I have a few minutes.

You may not be able to do all of these, especially if you are in the office, but taking a break to get around is an important part. Walk around the office building, do a few warm-ups, do a few push-ups or squats, and whatever it takes to maintain blood flow.

Don’t forget basic ergonomics

You can stand while you work, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to worry about your posture. In fact, it is more important to practice correct posture because you are standing. Unless you are a soldier or a bionic person, you only know how to stand properly and comfortably for short periods of time, and even then you are probably slouching like me. In the video above from YouTube channel GuerillaZen Fitness, Certified Personal Trainer Blake Bowman explains the basics of standing posture.

Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, but pay attention to how you feel in your hips and choose whichever is most comfortable for you. After your feet are in position, do what Bowman calls “screwing your feet into the ground,” which involves rotating your feet slightly outward to provide better support for the arch of the foot. Now bend your abs as if expecting a blow, engage your glutes, arch your lower back slightly, straighten your sternum slightly, and pull your shoulders back.

The keyboard should also be close at hand so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, and your computer screen should be high enough so that you can read it without bending your neck at all – just like when you are sitting . To do this, I had to stack a few boxes under the laptop, but it’s worth it even if it doesn’t look that good.

Take lots of sitting breaks.

Regular seating breaks are essential for working at a standing desk. At first I tried to stand for days and it was a huge mistake. The next morning, my feet, legs, and back hurt and I lost interest in standing again. In part, I was building up my lazy muscles, but it was too fast and I realized that if I didn’t break down to sit down, I would quickly burn out. You should walk up and down regularly so as not to hurt yourself in any way. But how long? A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that roughly half your workday, or four hours, is a magic number. Use a timer on your phone or even a web app like Standing Clock and keep switching back and forth.

In fact, although I’ve become a big fan of leg work, I don’t recommend just having a standing desk. No matter where you stand (aha) in the health debate around standing tables , standing too long is just as bad as sitting too long. And if you can’t easily convert your workspace back and forth , do what I do and take two tables, or use the kitchen table as a standing table space ( or a sofa as a seating area ). It might sound like overkill, but it helps me stay fresh and productive.


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