Right on the heels of reporting in to you about my new standing work station at my home studio, along comes Julianne with an inspirational story of her own.
My Transition to a Standing Workstation
How Julianne made a standing work station and sneaks fitness in with Fit Quickies
by guest blogger Julianne Rowland
I am a translator by profession and for years spent long hours sitting at my desk. By the end of the day, I would always feel totally lethargic and drained, and my legs and “toosh” would feel like mush. But I just figured that sitting was one of those unavoidable “occupational hazards”, so for a long time, I just resigned myself to feeling yucky after a day’s work.
Then, about 18 months ago, there was talk among some of my fellow translators of the “treadmill desk,” a tall desk that fits over a standard treadmill, allowing people to walk at a very slow pace while working on their computers or talking on the phone. I was intrigued by the whole idea of not having to sit while working and looked into the treadmill desk.
At the time, I had two reservations about investing in the desk (and the treadmill). First, it meant a relatively significant outlay of cash, and I wanted to make sure it would really work for me before taking the leap. And second, I do an enormous amount of keyboarding and was not sure that I would be able to keep my level of output up while walking, even slowly. So I put the treadmill desk idea on ice.
I was still extremely unsatisfied with my work arrangement, however, and was determined to find at least a temporary fix that would give me relief while allowing me to continue “earning my bread and butter.” So I talked to my husband and gave him an ultimatum: either I had to find a way to stand up while working or I was going to cut back on my hours accordingly.
As you can imagine, that elicited quite a reaction from him – and he immediately agreed to help me rig something up, despite his skepticism and belief that standing up would only limit my productivity, not enhance it. After a quick trip down to the basement, he emerged with an old coffee table and an end table, which he set up on top of my existing desk. I have to mention that my work space is quite elaborate, with two computers and four large monitors, so I needed to have two tables on top of my desk in order to accommodate it all.
So that was my arrangement. The tables were a little bit too tall, so I scrounged up one of my kids’ old step stools to give me a little bit more height, and added a tall stool with a yoga block on top for the occasional “booty rest” on extremely long workdays.
I have been working this way since around December 2011, and I would never go back to a conventional setup. I must add that working from home has given me the freedom to arrange my workstation in the way that best supports my well-being, but I understand that employers these days are increasingly willing to provide alternative workstation arrangements to employees, with the goal of improving their health and the company’s bottom line along with it.
I now typically stand at least 45 minutes of every hour, punctuated by brief intervals of sitting on my stool. In addition, several times a week, I wear a weighted vest while standing at my computer, which gives my abs, legs, and postural muscles a fantastic workout. And even though I stand to work now, I am much more mindful of taking breaks to run downstairs and make myself a cup of herbal tea or get a drink of water, so I also get a stair workout in during the day. And since I am already standing, it’s that much easier to sneak in a little Fit Quickie break or two throughout the day, my favorites being Fit Quickie #10, “Legs into Play” with my feet balancing on the edge of my stool for an added challenge, and Fit Quickie #9, “Higher Assets.” And of course, Fit Quickie #1, “7 Seconds to a Flat Belly!”
I can’t stress enough how great this arrangement has been for me, as it has greatly improved my level of fitness and my productivity at work. I now actually enjoy reporting for work, knowing that I won’t be subjecting myself to the drudgery of sitting for long hours and feeling terrible afterward. And when I heard recently from Lani about the latest research on the dangers of sitting for long periods, I knew I had been right to trust my instinct and listen to my body!
When using a standup workstation table, one foot should be elevated 5-6 inches with a small platform. This will maintain better lumbar posture, and help avoid eventual low back pain. Have you ever noticed bars often have a round brass bar, on which to rest one foot? There is a reason. I learned this 30 years ago, when setting up a standup table at work, and having read how a corporate executive setup his table to relieve the lumbar area.
Absolutely Darryl! Always my recommend on putting together a work station that has you standing.
Thanks so much for your contributions!
“Most antique standing desks have an open frame with few or little drawers, and a footrail (similar to those seen at a bar) to reduce back pain.”
Swivel bar stools are a brilliant idea for bar furniture and have many unseen advantages for both business and pleasure. Swivel bar stools are practical because they have excellent manoeuvrability when being sat in, this allows for extra comfort and convenience for those who are sitting in them. When in the bar or restaurant industries, swivel bar stools are usually affixed to the one spot, this facilitates the look of neatness and a well compacted yet spacious seating area. Most significantly swivel bar stools always look very chic and have an air of prestige about them.”
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Thank you, Lani for showing us how conveniently Julianne (and hubby) was able to hike up her work station. I would have not thought of the coffee table solution. Garage sales here I come. Also to Darryl…ditto. I was just going to add that I kick around a little 4 legged painting stool wherever I stand. I used to have terrible back trouble. Somehow it’s got better, but the stool sure helps. Another way I found to ease up on the back and leg strain of standing a long time is a little stepper I bought from Sharper Image. Just another handy way of moving the hips and legs to go along with your Fit Quickies. Thanks for the great ideas. Lynn
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