(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
A few weeks back, I blogged about switching to a standing desk and I wanted to throw a little update together to share my progress.
When researching standing desks, a recurrent theme was to expect discomfort. Some bloggers recommended standing for 15 minutes to start with and extending the standing time slowly. Other bloggers found it painful and uncomfortable around 3pm and went off to sit down with a laptop. I was expecting a similar experience and prepared myself for short standing sessions between perching on my stool.
Happily, I’ve found it very easy to adjust. I’m certainly aware of mild discomfort towards the end of the day, but it’s not enough for me to sit down. I do finish the work day feeling like I’ve done a days work which is refreshing as I used to uncurl myself from my chair and hobble downstairs feeling somewhat restless.
Not including exercise, I average about 5 hours of standing a day. I tend to start work sitting on my stool around 8am. I generally exercise (weights or running) around 9:30 for around an hour and sit to rest and eat a post work out meal afterwards. I generally start standing around midday or a touch earlier and continue standing until I finish work around 5pm.
As other bloggers have noted, I do feel more alert and ‘present’ while standing. I find I’m more efficient, productive and less likely to procrastinate. In fact, when I do sit down, I feel my brain and body slowly shutting down until I’m leaning over my desk mindlessly clicking forum topics or refreshing Facebook. The mental change between sitting and standing is astounding. Likewise, when I’m on my feet I feel energised and focused. I like that I can just take a few steps back to focus on a problem.
I don’t feel that I’m in any significant discomfort or pain. I’m currently working through a barbell strength program and hit a PR of 5 sets of 5 x 100kg (220lb) last week. I’m happy that this proves there is no long term fatigue from standing most of the working day.
If I may share some tips for those thinking about making the switch: Make sure the desk is high enough. I fiddled with the height adjustment for a few days until I found a comfortable position. It’s important that your elbows are around 90 degrees to the floor when resting on the desk. Hop and shuffle around as you work. It helps if you have upbeat music to listen to. I find myself half dancing which is a terrible mental image but really quite enjoyable. I find myself resting a foot on my stool quite often to shift the weight into a different position.
It’s been a very positive experience for me and I don’t think I could return to a sitting desk. Why not give it a go? Pile up some boxes on your desk and raise your laptop up and try standing for half an hour or so?