Standing at my desk

My redneck standing deskFor a long time I’ve been having trouble with my neck and shoulders. Massage therapy and regular visits to my chiropractor have helped, but still I ache. Some of this is old age, but I’m not one to take challenges laying down, so I set out to find a way to put less stress on my body.

A few years back, I paid out of pocket to have an ergonomic evaluation done of my home office, It was very enlightening. She made several recommendations. I immediately purchased a keyboard tray that adjusted up and down as well as in and out. That helped one problem, but aggravated another. Due to my lack of vision and the fact that my left eye is dominant, I still hold myself awkwardly at the keyboard, I lean forward to see my monitor (even with a lower resolution and bigger fonts. It’s an unconscious bad habit that is taking a serious toll on my body. In the September, desperate for some relief, I decided to test out a standing desk. I’d heard about them and read some interesting articles that talked about how standing more can reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes and cancer.

Not wanting to invest tons of money in a untested theory, I created my own standing desk environment out of items laying around the house. Utilizing a box to an old printer, a stool, boards that my daughter broke at karate and binder. I constructed what I lovingly refer to as the redneck’s standing desk. The setup allowed me to get the monitors up to eye height, raise up the mouse and slant the keyboard in a wrist friendly way. A week into the experiment, I did invest in an anti-fatigue floor mat to make standing less stressful on my feet, knees and hips.

I told myself I’d give it a month. Two months later the set up remains and I’ve decided I like it.  There are times when I’d like the flexibility of being able to sit down, but overall, I’m more comfortable standing.Occasionally I catch myself twisting in awful positions as I try to read something on the screen, but that happens less frequently and I think I catch bad posture earlier. Standing also causes me to move more.

My next purchase will be a wall mount for my iMac. It’s hard because I have a 27 inch screen and it weighs a ton, but having a wall moutn would allow me to lower the monitor (an return the keyboard to it’s old adjustable tray so I could sit when I needed to. A wall mount for an iMac isn’t easy to find, and they aren’t inexpensive, but I think it will be worth it in the end.

Have you tried a standing desk? What is your experience?

Labeled standing desk

 

 

27 thoughts on “Standing at my desk

  1. Excellent feed! And what a novel idea! I have one stupid suggestion: a Dr. Scholl’s foot massager. They’re so dreamy… Right away, I lower my head and drift off to a magic land, where the tension drains out of me as I drool on my shirt! Our timing is impeccable! I’m an old fart as well, and just now put up a short, concise post about how to handle pain without contorting yourself into a package of twisted meat! Secretly, I’m just trying to get you to visit me. Your writing style is very soothing and easy to comprehend. Why make a complexity of what’s simple, when you can make a simplicity of what’s complex? Right? Once again, thank you from the bottom of my bowels!

  2. I love you adaptation. Now that’s creative thought.
    I gave up sitting to work several years ago. (partly because when we moved, I lost my lovely office room. SIGH) Currently using a tall kitchen counter for the laptop location. And it feels quite natural now. Have been known to pull up a stool on long days, but try to avoid that. But I think you are right about the screen needing to be at eye level. My back does complain if I lean forward to get a close look at something. One thing I found is I need good comfy shoes and often change them mid day.
    I know several authors/bloggers work on a treadmill. While intrigued, I’m afraid I’d fall off…

    • I also know several people who have a treadmill desk and like you I’m afraid I’d fall off. I have trouble walking and chewing gum!!

  3. A man after me own heart, the exact problems I have, but I suspect mine is worse, because I can not stand for more than a minute, I can walk but standing , nah!. just impossible.
    But liked your post, and the pain’ well, where to start, so I won’t, as we all have our own battle and we fight it in our own way, and my main way is Tapentadol, prolonged release , but hate having to keep taking them, keep up the work as we all have to move somehow best Alex

  4. I have often said I’d buy a standing desk for all those work years if I had it to do over again. Now that I’m blogging (and spending delicious hours reading blogs) I am using my computer more than ever. It is on my Nov to-do list to do exactly what you have done – try a redneck version before trying to buy a standup desk. Thanks for sharing your experience. We often think we’re the only one wrestling with vision, neck, shoulder and ‘keep moving’ issues of Boomerdom.

      • Thanks! I feel like I need an eye-computer-desk-posture/movement consultant to help me choose eyeglasses, monitor and correct positioning. All those things are like trying on shoes at the store, and they never seem to fit together when I have used them awhile!!

  5. Great article. It is important to find, or make, whatever it takes for your body to be comfortable, whether you are sitting or standing. Try one of these – AKP OfficePro/10 or AKP OfficePro/20 configured for a stand up application. Keep the anti-fatigue mat then recycle the cardboard boxes.

  6. In several of my former jobs, I had powered desks to adjust the height of the desk and the keyboard platform. Often times I would stand while working to lose some of the tension I get sitting. This is a splendid idea and may have to try it at home.

  7. Once I started using a laptop, I never looked back. I can sit in a variety of chairs giving my back options. I always carry it with me, and I can move it around on my lap for various viewing options. I also have special glasses that are designed for the optimal computer range. The most important thing for me is to get up and move around frequently. –Curt

  8. This is a really useful article. I have a constant ache in my shoulder that never seems to go away and it’s due to the excessive hours spent writing at my laptop! I’ve been looking into different designs of desks, but never once thought about standing. I’m assuming this may well encourage me to take regular breaks too, which I tend to forget about as I get so engrossed in my work. I will start constructing my new desk soon! Thanks.

  9. I’m a writer and a PT and have done everything from ergonomic evals in offices to setting up computer desks for persons with disabilities who require accommodations. Standing desks and adjustable height tables are a wonderful option! I often suggest that people engaging in prolonged standing tasks get a small step stool (I like the kids’ plastic ones with non-slip grips) and during the course of work rotate between standing with both feet flat, right foot on stool, left foot on stool, for comfortable portions of time (15-20 minutes seems average). It’s a great way to give muscles and joints a change of pace without drastic changes to the workspace.

    • What a GREAT idea. My kids are older, but we still have at least 3 ofr those plastic stools around. I’m going to look for one now! Thanks!

  10. I’ve been dying for a standing desk at work! I joke with our office manager that it’s either that or I sit on an exercise ball (I’ve heard that has similar effects as a standing desk). She didn’t seem to like my ideas, unfortunately!

    • I have used the exercise ball at my son’s school and find it to be very comfortable. Perhaps your office manager needs to be shown some research supporting your request 🙂 Good luck!

  11. My son-in-law introduced me to the stand-up desk when he adapted one for his home office. Your timely article, and some long writing hours, pushed me to experimentation. I’m glad you mentioned the anti-fatigue mat. After the first day, I owned one! I set mine up in the kitchen where I can observe the birds and squirrels in my backyard. Thanks!

  12. Pingback: Standing Desk 2.0 | Live to Write - Write to Live

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