My Stand-Up Desk Experiment (Day One)

For those of you following, my week of solitude was a success. I spent a lot of time getting the writing done that I wanted, I watched a few movies, and I spent time with my great-nephew. Daughter had a fabulous time at camp and can’t stop talking about it, which is wonderful to hear.

As a matter of fact, I had such a wonderful week in my office that my back was starting to yell. Sitting in a chair too much can be quite painful, especially for anyone with prior back/spine issues. Considering how bad it is for you to sit in a chair all day, I decided to get/create a standing work station to see what all the fuss was about. First, I talked with Sean Preuss, a trainer to friends of mine and an author who writes standing up. Then I searched Pinterest and the Internet for stand-up desk DIYs just to get a feel for what I needed. Here are a few of the sites I visited:

1. One Year at My Standing Desk

2. The Standing Desk Experiment: Five Months In

3. Forbes Magazine: What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Standing Desks?

4. Lifehack: The True Benefits of a Standing Desk

What did I learn? The desk should be at elbow height or just below. Your arms should be at right angles from your body, including your wrists, while typing. An anti-fatigue mat for standing is a good idea. Get ready for a sore back and legs at first. Move around a lot if you can.

My Standing Workstation

My Standing Workstation

So, after all that research I started the search. I was planning on stacking books on my desk until I searched my teenager’s room and found a study computer desk we had bought for her a few years back. Since she doesn’t use it all that much anymore, (the dining table worked fine and she just graduated). It has two heights, and the lowest height is perfect for me. As you can see from the photo, it’s wide enough to put a mouse/trackball to the right. There is actually a built-in mousepad there. Too bad I don’t need that. There is also a light on the left for late-night reading.

Day one: I find myself shifting my feet a lot, side to side. I finally decided to put a box under the desk and rest one foot on it, similar to standing at a bar (except nobody served me a martini here. This bar sucks!). I have even stood for a bit with my foot propped behind me on the chair I’m not using.

The space right between my shoulder blades is screaming at me. I think this is just my body telling me that my posture is pretty damn bad and I should just sit down, but I’m not giving in that easily.

This little table gets cramped quickly with the laptop, trackball, and speaker. (What? I need my Pandora when I work.) The wire is too short to sit on the desk. But the good news is that there is a lot of room under the desk to put things. And, it can be folded down in case I want to sit for a little bit and take a breather.

I need better shoes. I think I need to invest in some really good shoes to stand in all day. It’s like walking all over Disneyland but without the big annoying mouse. My feet hurt like crazy, but I didn’t get any ice cream shaped like a mouse head.

From what I’ve read, it does get a bit uncomfortable the first few days. Some people say don’t do it all day on the first few days. I may sit after finishing this post, or I may take a walk. I will definitely be finding a gel mat to stand on soon, and hopefully one that doesn’t cost the same as my computer. Have you priced those out? Geez! I suppose it’s worth it, but I may be trying to make my own.

So for now I’m shifting side to side and shrugging my shoulders a lot. I have actually found myself swaying to the music and walking around my little office a bit more.

If you have one of these, let me know what you do to ease fatigue and soreness. I’m hoping this will be a great solution. I have heard that people lose weight after doing this, although that is not my goal. This is just my first step at trying to get a bit more fit, work out a little more, and live a bit longer.

Stay tuned for updates. I’ll let you know how the long-term standing sits with me. (Get it? Standing-Sits. Hehe, I’m crack myself up!)

Thanks for stopping by!


7 thoughts on “My Stand-Up Desk Experiment (Day One)

    • Thanks, Cecile. So far so good. I noticed my neck was a lot less sore than it usually is when I work for long periods at my desk. I think my shoulders are down and I shrug less when I’m standing. Long-term? I’m not sure yet.

  1. A friend of mine got some great gel mats at Costco — they’re perfect for cooking, too. Also, Carrie Rubin at has a post from a while back about writing with a stand on her treadmill; maybe the walking helps? Good luck with your standing desk!

    • Funny, I just got back from Costco and bought a gel mat. So far, I love it. Makes standing a bit easier since I’ve got hardwood floors in here. Thanks! I would love to do a treadmill desk, I just don’t have room in here right now. But I’ve been dancing a bit to the music as I type, does that count? Thanks for checking in.

  2. I use mine to go back and forth, standing and sitting. Mostly I like it for quick things like checking email and such. Standing keeps me from getting sucked into the rabbit holes of the Internet. But like you, if I’m working on a project with research and papers, I find the stand up desk too small, so I relent and sit at the big desk next to it. And as a side note, I think bare feet are better than good shoes. For just standing around, the body should be better adapted to bare feet than the artificial cushion of shoes. There’s not a lot of shock absorption that needs to be done, and standing will help the muscles in the foot and lower leg get stronger.

    • Thanks, Scott. I’m in bare feet right now and that seems to be comfortable for right now. Not sure how long that will last. I like the idea of going back and forth, at least for a bit in the beginning. I think my stand-up desk is a bit small also, but everything is right here so I’ll try and stick it out. I remember seeing a photo of your stand-up desk. That was when I first started thinking about it.

  3. Pingback: Standing up for two weeks in the heat | Valerie Demetros – The Writing Life

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