Mar 14

I Stand, Therefore I'll Live (Better)... A Follow-Up

This past December, I blogged about how I changed my office set-up so I'd be standing all day.

...and promised I'd write a follow-up after it had been a month or so. Well, it's been almost 3 months and I have to say that this is one of the BEST decisions I've made to enhance my office life.

Standing Office Setup

Since theĀ original post, I've made a couple of modifications (and you can see the results in the image on the left):

1. I purchased a monitor stand for my two monitors which gave me most of my table space back

2. I scavenged a little end table to keep my laptop/docking station

I considered purchasing a foam roller or something similar for under the table to rest alternating feet on, but noticed that I move around naturally enough that I'm comfortable. (Standing rigidly still isn't good for you either; the idea is to shift your weight around, move around, etc.)


Here's what's funny/awesome. Over the holiday break, I read The End of Illness by Dr. David Agus. There is a whole chapter on how sitting everyday is shortening our life span! (Chapter 10: Running to Sit Still: The Perils of a Prolonged Perch).

Some relevant quotes from the book:

  • "Researchers at the American Cancer Society released a study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Epidemiology that pretty much said sitting down for extended periods poses a health risk as "insidious" as smoking or overexposure to the sun."
  • "A second study at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne concluded that even two hours of exercise a day would not compensate for 'spending 22 hours sitting on your rear end.'"
  • "...women seem to be more affected by spending time on their derrieres. In the study, women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting (outside of work) were 37 percent more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than three hours a day."

When I read that, I'd only spent a couple days on my feet. Naturally, I was anxious to see how I'd feel about it after a month or more...

Results? I feel much better at work. I don't have the back pains I was experience. But more noticeable is that in the early afternoon, I don't experience the "post-lunch" drowsies that seemed to be a normal part of the day (it still happens *occasionally* but that can easily be correlated to nights I don't sleep well).

For the ladies: the only other thing to take note of is footwear. I don't know about you, but I can't stand in heals all day. So this decision has rendered half of my shoe collection completely unusable at the office. Eh. Small price to pay.

By telling y'all about this I hope that:

  1. You'll read The End of Illness by Dr. David Agus (and my other recent favorite "healthy living" book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto )
  2. You'll consider standing all day, too!

Happy standing!

Dec 13

Unexpected Side Effects of Entrepreneurship and Standing at the Office

Most people in my circle know that I'm a weight watchers lifetime member (which means I hit my goal weight and maintained it for six weeks). But most people don't know how much I've struggled over the years since to maintain my weight.

I became a lifetime member a few months before I opened my retail store in late 2002 - more than a decade ago! And for the first two years that followed, I had a VERY EASY time maintaining my weight. I call this one of the Unexpected Side Effects of Entrepreneurship. Two things caused this pleasant Side Effect:

1) Since I quit my "day job" I no longer had any disposable income and almost never went out to eat

2) Instead of an office job, the retail store had me on my feet all day

Two years later, when I went back to an office job, the weight started to creep up a little. It wasn't that bad or much... I was still on my feet a lot during the evenings and weekends, so I was still managing it.

But in the last couple of years, particularly since I had my son, I've had a REALLY rough time of it, mostly because I'm FORCED to sit all day!

I've been noticing a trend around my office... I know at least four others who have varying setups so they're standing all day. I started thinking about it... partly because I've also noticed that my own posture has not been good and my upper back has been bothering me. So I've polled all the folks with the setups and picked on that was easy and inexpensive to implement (my company provides "normal" office furniture... that's it). Said colleague, Braxton Cook, received enough questions about his setup that he wrote his own blog post to explain:


I set mine up today. Here's my (current) setup:

Standing desk setup

My standing desk setup

Mine differed from Braxton's in a couple ways:

1) I got the smaller size Gallant desk top from Ikea

2) I'm forgoeing the chair

I still have a couple tweaks to perfect my situation.... I will be buying a dual monitor stand and I need to figure out a better setup for the laptop and docking station that's currently located on the floor under the desk. It's not in any danger of me kicking it, but I want to use the space for a foam roller. Many of the things I've read about this kind of setup say that you should have somewhere to rest a foot occasionally.

So it's only been one day with this setup, but already I'm enjoying it. I didn't have the mid-afternoon drowsy lull I normally do and overall I felt better with the little bits of movement. Even now, in the evening when I'm usually fighting a ton of fatigue, especially this time of year, I feel pretty good.

I'll status this setup again in a couple months to see if it's still working... but for now, I'm one happy software engineer!