The Standing Desk Experiment Begins

 Could it be that instead of stealing your chair, this cat is actually saving your life?!?

Could it be that instead of stealing your chair, this cat is actually saving your life?!?

In recent years, experts have been saying that sitting down at a desk for 8+ hours isn't good for you. The Mayo Clinic says so, Popular Science says so, and even NPR says so. The evidence sounds reasonable, so I believe them. Since I'd like to live as long and healthy a life as possible, I've finally decided to bite the bullet and create a workspace that enables me to stand.

I work in an office with a desk and two computer monitors already provided for me. Since I didn't want to cause a disruption by bring in a (costly and inconvenient) standing desk, I decided to try modifying my desk with some sort of platform or podium. First I perused Amazon to see what the marketplace offered. It turns out that the marketplace offers what I consider overpriced solutions:


I just don't think laminated particle board should cost that much, ya know?

I became determined to find the cheapest, easiest, and most elegant standing desk solution out there. After a few Google searches, I found Colin Nederkoorn's standing desk converter made of parts from Ikea that cost just $22.

As much as I love Ikea's style and funny product names, my distaste for laminated particle board extends to its products as well, no matter how cheap they are. I hesitated to rush out and buy the iconic Ikea Lack table Colin recommends. Days passed, and I still didn't find any solution that I liked better. The status quo continued as I sat on my tuckus at the office, feeling guiltier and guiltier, imagining myself to be slowly but surely shaving off the number of years I have left to enjoy this mortal plane. 

But yesterday, the Thrift Store Shopping Gods, who are prone to smiling upon my offerings of time and attention in their Temple of Goodwill, sent me a blessing.

To translate, I found two almost-brand-new Lack side tables at for a good price at the local Goodwill. Call me a hypocrite (it's ok because I'm calling myself that too), but I feel alright about buying used particle board instead of new particle board (hey, it might outgas and kill me, but at least it's not rotting away in a landfill, amirite?), so I bought them. Today I brought them to the office, stacked them on top of my desk, and got to work.

So far, so ok. I had to take off my high heel boots (which I should probably do permanently for health reasons anyway) while I work because standing in them for so long was putting too much pressure on the balls of my feet. Even with my shoes off, by the middle of the day my knees were hurting, and by the end of the day my knees were popping, and that's not good for a wanna-be-runner-athlete like me. My shoulders and neck were also feeling strange by 3 PM, though that could solely be due to the fact that I don't have a shelf or platform positioned to correctly hold my keyboard and mouse. By the time I left for the day, my toes were falling asleep, and I have no explanation for that. 

These may be problems I can fix. If not, I might have to re-think the standing desk idea. After all, while research shows that sitting down for long periods of time is bad for you, there are not any conclusive studies (as far as I know) to show that standing for equally long periods of time is a much healthier alternative -- in fact, evidence suggests that it is just as bad in its own special way.

It seems like the best thing for us to do is just move around all day like our hunter-gatherer ancestors. But you know what? 

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photo credit: interpunct via photopin cc