Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Standing Sloth

I returned to work after Thanksgiving last year, sat down at my desk and felt... absolutely gross. There was stuffing in my veins, broccoli cheese casserole in my gut and I could feel my flesh slowly molding around my office chair. The previous summer the Internets were all the rage about the famous infographic detailing how "Sitting is Killing You," and sites such as Lifehacker were consistently running stories of people constructing their own standing desks. I decided enough was enough and decided to try the standing desk thing.

The desk I was using at the time was huge, solid and immobile - a single and secured wooden boat in a 10' by 6' L-shape. There was no freaking way I could elevate it to standing height. At first I thought I would just build something roughly hewn from 2x4's but instead I noticed a blocky, simple accent table at Target. Worst case I thought I could saw off the legs to height.

In addition I had found an older storage ottoman sitting in my garage with a half-broken lid. It was quite nearly the same height as the two accent tables, so I thought I might see if it was of any use as well.

I placed both tables and the ottoman side-by-side on top of the desk. To my surprise the tables were the perfect height for a keyboard, mouse, monitor and a laptop riser. My arms were bent at a 90 degree angle, the top of my monitors were at eye level and I could shift my weight around to avoid locking my knees. For the first two weeks I alternated between sitting and standing... but soon I was standing 6 hours a day.

Here we are, over a year later. The only alteration I have made has been a comfort floor mat to stand on, and then only because I moved to a cement floor. I must admit that people mocked me for a good while... people kept coming into my office asking "what are you doing? Do you really stand all day? Really? REALLY?" And yes, co-workers sitting adjacent to me were treated to being eye-level with my butt all day.

People eventually got accustomed to me standing and even became interested in converting to a standing desk as well. A nice side effect is that it is easier to have conversations with people who walk over... no longer do I have to stare up their nose while someone asks questions from above. I lost (and kept off) ten pounds, which is nice. No more lower back problems either, which may have less to do with standing and more to do with me sitting like an crooked monkey.

Not bad for around $100, half of which was a nice standing mat. All I needed was busted furniture from home, tables made for a college dorm room and a laptop stand.

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