standing desks

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Can’t Have A Treadmill Desk At Work? Try A Wobble Board

wobble board

(Photo: Carey Goldberg)

If your workplace is like mine, employees are popping up like meerkats: As the evidence mounts that sitting for long periods is unhealthy, they’re setting up standing desks for themselves, and spending large portions of every day upright.

I posted about my own little makeshift desk here, and today, NPR’s Patti Neighmond writes about her own experiment with a treadmill desk. (Helpful advice: Don’t expect to instantly jump on and spend all day on it, you need time to adjust; and for certain complex mental tasks, you may still need to sit.)

Of course, many of us would love a treadmill, but work in cubicles or desk farms that cannot fit them, or in venues where even a quiet motor would be too disruptive. So I’d like to share some sage advice from my personal standing-desk guru, Tom Anthony, the CommonHealth reader who recently inspired me to rise to my own feet.

He suggested adding a “wobble board” like the one above, an unstable plastic disk that lets you add a challenging element of balance to your standing time. Several companies make them, including Reebok and BodyFit; they cost under $20; and they add a bit of spice and fun to standing. Tom writes:

standing desk

Reader Tom Anthony’s standing desk

Two years ago, I built a standing desk for my computer after reading the dangers of sitting too much. I bought an artist table but it was too wobbly so I reinforced it with some oak cross bars slats that I bought from Lowes for $15. Now it is like a rock. I also dropped in a 3″ PVC pipe between the slats and the front supports as a “bar rail”. Surprisingly, it is easier to stand on one foot while resting your other foot on the bar rail (bars figured this out long ago).

I have been standing at my computer ever since. It took me 3 weeks to get used to standing all day (am 71 years old). At first it was very tiring & discouraging but now I stand all day long without thinking. We are much more adaptable than we think.

Since standing gets boring and can strain the legs and feet, I added this wobble board last year to stand on, to get some exercise and motion. It allows lot of varied movements, does not take up the space of a treadmill and is 100 times cheaper. It took about a week to get comfortable typing while wiggling on it as I am doing right now. It works great, is fun & quiet and your legs and feet never get tired or strained as they do with just standing, even with the bar rail. Sometimes I am on the wobble board for 8 hours a day if I have a long internet session on a rainy day. Continue reading

Stand Up And Be Counted: Readers Share Do-It-Yourself Standing Desks

Joe D., A mortgage banker in Newport, RI, and his paper box-desk

Ah, American ingenuity!! Over the last few months, there has been a wave of findings on the harmful effects of sitting too much, even if you work out. One of our headlines was even “Off Your Bum For Longer Life.” Suddenly, our staid office lives are looking as potentially perilous as New England fishing.

Under the influence of that research, I bought a $17 table to devise my own standing desk; I posted a photo here and asked readers to share their own makeshift constructs. We’ll do a full-fledged gallery later, but the first few photos that have rolled in were so inspiring I wanted to share them right away.

The one above shows Joe D., a Rhode Island mortgage banker, who should have plenty of clients if his mortgages are as creative as his work arrangements. (Creative in a good way, I mean, not a 2008 way.)

Below is a modified Ikea desk, and our reader writes:

“I’ve been using this stand-up desk for about 6 months now. It’s an Ikea desk that I modified to be at standing height. I use the empty box on the floor to occasionally rest my foot on and shift around my weight while I work. I do have a regular desk (and chair) and I try to stand up as often as I can (especially on days I don’t work out.) As a health policy consultant (who sits down an awful lot), I read about the detrimental effects of sitting and knew I needed to change my own habits – so off to Ikea I went!”

Continue reading