Standing desks

So, like everyone these days, I could use more exercise. Unless I build activity into my routine, it doesn’t happen and then sometimes it gets sidelined because of the constant stream of choices–work priorities, writing deadlines, grocery shopping–I know anyone reading this will understand. Our well-being tends to come last.

The argument for standing desks is, of course, all about how (without really changing how we spend our time) we can be healthier simply by standing up to work instead of sitting down. As long as the ergonomics are in place, what’s the down side? In my case, price and space. I don’t have room for a proper standing desk at home, and my workplace is not in the habit of supplying new furniture just because I ask. Then I heard about the Oristand, which can be bought very reasonably (about $25 USD). So I got one. My desk came promptly, and is made of a sturdy cardboard that flattens down like a banker’s box.  The pictures here are linked from their website, where you can see the desk in action: Oristand There is a video worth watching.

I tried the desk at home, but I’m too short for it when it stood on my kitchen table.  I’m 5’7″, and the Oristand is clearly made for someone to use it on a standard height desk. So I took it to work, where I could use it on the intended surface. There, the height is perfect. Laptop goes on the top, keyboard on the “step”. For those with a larger monitor, it can go on top or in my case I made a tower of filing boxes next to the Oristand. Not stylish, but it works.

So does standing make a difference? Absolutely.  I didn’t get as tired as I feared because I have to sit down in meetings anyway, so my days are broken up between sitting and standing. It seems to be helping my posture and general energy levels. I’m more clear-headed in the evenings and able to write for longer periods. I think it’s all about circulation. I wear a fitbit and seem to get more steps in during the day – maybe I move around more because I’m already out of my chair. For whatever reason, standing does improve my level of productivity. The one other thing I had to do was invest in a rubber mat to stand on, but there are plenty out there at a range of price points. Overall, this has been a positive and easy change for very little investment.

Now, though, I don’t like sitting for long periods because I notice how stiff I get. It’s funny how what we think of as “normal” is just a habit. Change things up for a while, and you notice that normal isn’t necessarily the best option. If you work at a desk all day, try standing for a couple of days–even just for a few hours–and see what your body tells you. It might be surprising.

PS I have only tried this one brand of product. I don’t have any affiliation with the company. If you know of others who make a similar desk, please leave the info in a comment.

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