Upright and Above Ground

Jul 17 2011 Published by under [Etc]

Today's post title is the flippant answer I occasionally (OK, more than occasionally) give when someone asks me, "How are you?". Some days, upright and above ground is all I can promise.

Click for more on standing desks

In reality, the upright part is not accurate. I don't lie about at the office, but my ample posterior is often applied directly to a chair. Upright means head-above-feet, not on-my-feet. Since the start of 2011 I have read several posts about standing and treadmill desks (one very useful article can be accessed by clicking the image). Since my day job ended June 30 (and the new one starts in September), my life has been excessively sedentary. I decided to see if I could blog standing up.

Of course, I'm too cheap to plunge right in and buy an actual standing-height desk without knowing if I will tolerate it. I finally figured out that I could use my laptop at shopping-cart-handle height or 42 inches from the floor. My kitchen island is standard cabinet height at 36 inches, and a plastic storage tub of 5.5 inches raises it to a reasonable level.

Friday I ran a bunch of errands. In between, I spent about an hour writing my post after reading all the source material on the sofa, in a generally non-sitting position. After about 5 minutes of awkwardness, I got used to the position, and things worked well. My favorite Fit-Flops gave great padding, so no foot pain occurred, and I felt fine.

Yesterday I upped my time to just over 2 hours. Once again, no problems working in "the position." In addition to playing with Google+ and blogging it, I performed several moving-related tasks online. I felt fine, and stuff got done.

I even conversed via twitter with Karyn Traphagen (@ktraphagen) who made the switch earlier this year. She still works standing up, albeit with a real system made for the task: keyboard at arm level and monitor raised to eye level. Eventually, as I work longer stretches, my neck will appreciate that ergonomic treat.

So this morning I woke up, got out of bed, and realized that my core muscles felt like I had played the Wii Fit Hula Hoop game last night. Given that no other change in my daily activities occurred, I'm pretty certain my muscles hurt from the extra use just standing!

I'm not ready to order a desk yet. I have to stick with this a bit longer and feel like I am really committed. For something this easy and cheap to work would be great!

Anyone else out there doing it upright?

5 responses so far

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Anyone else out there doing it upright?

    Sorta kinda. I get a fair bit of my reading done while using a stair machine. One room is set up with a 42" wall-mounted monitor, wireless keyboard and pointers, and exercise equipment.

    Given my poor lower-leg circulation and meralgia paresthetica, standing for any length of time isn't really a good idea -- but strolling up stairs is something I can keep up for hours.

  • Peter says:

    Definitely! Ever since my back started to hurt while writing up my thesis.

    Unfortunately, my current department won't afford nice desks so I use boxes on my desk to uplift the computer, sort of properly...

    Also, being out of town I'm 'sitting' at a cafe to work -- thanks to standing tables.

    Thanks for the excellent link.

  • I sincerely wish I could, but as a grad student, I'm lucky to have as good of a desk setup as I do (though my monitor is only at a reasonable height courtesy of several notebooks). One of my undergraduate professors had a setup that was the best of both worlds, with a motorized desk that could go between sitting and standing (and a stand he could move his monitor to). I'm sure my back would be happier if I could stand more, though.

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