Standing Desk

About me: I build  Power 20, a suite of mobile exercise apps. 

It has now been two years since I started using a standing desk at work. No matter how long my workday is, I stand at my computer. This means some days I stand over 10 hours, with the only breaks being when I nap, eat, or meditate.

I don’t have before and after blood tests or other objective metrics, but here’s my subjective experience. I cannot attribute all these changes to standing; I do a Power 20 workout every day. Nonetheless, I stand more than any other activity, so it probably shapes my body more than anything else.

Some things that I feared would happen did not actually happen.

  • I didn’t develop any knee, foot, back, or hip pains.
  • I don’t feel exhausted at the end of the day or week.
  • My productivity and ability to concentrate did not go down.

What did happen:

  • My posture improved. My neck and shoulders no longer pitch forward.
  • My legs became more muscular.
  • I no longer get back pain.
  • My work day involves a lot more movement.

Side Effects:

  • Negative: Sitting for more than 2 hours at a time is now mildly uncomfortable.
  • Positive: I get less frustrated when standing in lines or on the subway. I bet half the frustration of standing in line is caused by the fatigue of standing. I have none of that now.

Adjustments I made over the 2 years:

  • I used to stand on a thick pad wearing shoes with extra-padded soles. Now, any shoes will do, and no floor pad is needed.
  • I raised my computer 5 inches higher than when I first started because I was bending my head too far forward. My keyboard is now at chest level and my eyes are looking slightly downward at about 105º.
  • Instead of taking sitting breaks, I now take jumping-around breaks. A few hops actually revitalize my legs better than sitting down does.

Overall it has been wonderfully positive. After two years of doing it, I still heartily recommend a standing desk. Specifically, the Furinno laptop stand. You can get one here.

 

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  • Pete Groverman

    Actually pretty cool.

  • Pizzicato Five Fan

    Really interesting to hear the positive side-effect. First time I’ve read about someone experiencing and recognizing this.

    Would you update your article to include an accurate image? The description of your current setup seems to be quite different than what’s used in your article.

  • trumbitta

    In time, you will suffer from various types of pain and injuries at blood vessels.
    Speak with a middle-aged barber with 30 years of “standing” experience, and ask him about his legs.

  • Brazilianbrew

    When I thought to do this I was called a fool and as I used to use about a half dozen seperate land line phones, they were probably right. One thing which did appeal to me was placing an exercise bike behind my desk where I could peddle whilst I read… but then I’d almost fall off when I tried to snatch up one of those phones so in the end I’m sitting here with occasional back pains, poor posture, etc.

  • Thum Thompson

    What about varices?

  • ArshadGC

    Possibly, but I sure hope not! Doing too much of anything is usually a bad idea, but if I have to choose between having the largest muscles in my body absolutely inactive all day vs. engaged, I’ll choose the latter. Beyond that, mixing this with regular exercise and a healthy body weight means my chances of having bad knees when I get older are relatively low.

  • ArshadGC

    That sounds like a fascinating and sort of hilarious setup!

  • ArshadGC

    Good point. Done.

  • kris

    I did the same thing for a long time myself, although mostly at home.
    Going to school there isn’t much of a choice, but I work at a supermarket at nights and on weekends and there I almost exclusively stand. However, I felt I was sitting too much at home, so I mounted the laptop to a place where I could stand using it.

    My results were:
    *Different standing posture, more forward-leant instead of placing all the weight on my heels.
    *Much less time spent procrastinating (laughing at kittens.)
    I’m a barefoot-runner, so I didn’t really notice much of a difference in leg muscles, but despite my running technique I was still crushing my heels into the ground when I was standing still, before I spent a few months barely sitting.

    Interesting to hear how you’ve done it for two years and what it’s done for you, there is much to sitting that is bad for our bodies, and standing more would probably benefit a lot of people. It’s doesn’t exactly put a toll on our bodies, as you did mention.

  • ffn

    I setup a standing desk at home for use during gaming sessions. Maybe it was the complete lack of breaks, or maybe it was because I would only at the end of a day after work, but I was always dreadfully exhausted afterwards

  • kris

    Definitely some truth to this, but lets not forget “middle-age” generally comes with various issues, regardless of occupation.

  • Brazilianbrew

    My barber is 60-odd and was obliged to put one of those “Lazy-Joe” chairs in his barbers show where he reclines between clients – lower back pain and leg circulation problems.

  • ArshadGC

    Varices and varicose veins are partially genetic and largely a western phenomenon, caused more by our ergonomically incorrect toilets than our prolonged standing. Beyond that, enlarged or hardened veins caused by prolonged standing are a certain potential hazard, but it pales compared to the increased cancers, heart diseases, and earlier deaths associated with prolonged sitting.

  • ArshadGC

    How long did you do it for? It took me a full 2 weeks to get used to standing all day without feeling exhausted.

  • ArshadGC

    You’re right; I actually sort of attack my computer when standing, rather than mindlessly surfing the web. It’s just a different experience. I should have mentioned that.

  • http://gc-taylor.com/ Greg Taylor

    It does and can take a while. This is hugely individual, too. Depending on what kind of shape you are in, it could take a few months for things to settle down.

    It took me about a week to get my productivity 100% back, and about a month to stop thinking about it. The knees/back started feeling a lot better after 2-3 months.

  • ffn

    1 year and 9 months so far. Taking breaks and whatnot in-between standing sessions might be a fairly solid requirement to using standing desks… which I see as a side benefit, as now one would actually take breaks instead of marathon unhealthy long computer sessions.

  • http://gc-taylor.com/ Greg Taylor

    After four years, I’m still golden here. Late twenties.

  • http://gc-taylor.com/ Greg Taylor

    Completely agree here. For the first year, I didn’t even have a chair/stool. Ended up running into some lower back soreness. I read around some, and the general consensus seemed to be that doing too much of anything for too long is bad (standing OR sitting).

    I now alternate between standing for about 30-45 minutes, then prop against a stool or go walk around for 10-15 minutes.

  • ArshadGC

    Agreed. Whether you sit or stand, frequent breaks are key! At home I have a stool that slides out from under my desk, making it easy to switch between standing and sitting.

  • http://gc-taylor.com/ Greg Taylor

    Or you could, you know, buy a stool and just alternate between standing and perching all day and avoid that entirely :)

    Sitting all day has its own set of problems, particularly back problems. You’re going to have issues if you take to either extreme.

  • Guest

    If you’re so lazy you’ll pay $2.99 for an app that demonstrates exercises that you can easily find on the Internet, then you’re probably too lazy to stand while working.

  • Andrew Cairns

    Do you ever use an external monitor? I would be interested in hearing how this could be included into your setup.

  • ArshadGC

    I used to use and external monitor at a past company. Here’s a link to that setup: http://cleargears-blog.heroku.com/2011/11/14/standup-in-style-in-10-mins

  • Andrew Cairns

    Thanks for sharing Arshad – I’m really interested in the stand you are using now. Maybe I’ll invest in some sort of wall mount or desk clamp for my screen and finally give this a shot!

  • ArshadGC

    Good luck, Andrew!

  • Jonathan Cutrell

    What a fantastically formed argument that is…

  • ArshadGC

    Ha ha ha great point!

  • Brendon

    Take your blood pressure lying down, sitting and then standing and you will see it go up. If you don’t have access to a sphygmomanometer but you go the gym you can watch your heart rate difference between sit-down cycling, the stair machine and jogging.

    Being upright causes the heart to work harder and sustains high pressure in the blood vessels of the legs (which is basic physics). There are indications that this can cause arterial hardening and associated cardio vascular diseases. Whether this is as bad for you as sitting is not clear. As usual, the safest option is probably to live like a caveman; except for the lions, bears, famine and terrible wifi.

  • http://www.techjot.com/ Askar

    My uncle who used to stand for the whole day at his work have a whole lot of leg/knee issues and so I was a bit scared to entertain this idea but spending 10+ hours sitting on a chair is also not a good thing and not going to do any good to me so I’m trying this option now.

    At work I don’t much choice but to use the chair but another few hours that I do at home I’m trying to stand as much as. It’s been a week now but I get the urge to sit down when it comes to doing some meticulous work, I don’t know if you felt the same and overcame that.

  • ArshadGC

    Good point, Brendon. Too much of anything is a bad idea, so the best course is probably one where we alternate positions, don’t stare at the same thing all day, and keep active. My blog post is about what happens on one extreme,(and not necessarily the most healthy long term option).

  • ArshadGC

    Actually, when it comes to detailed, heads down work, I put on headphones and actually dance while I work. It helps me stay focused for longer, and it’s fun!

  • fanny bogosdododod

    I tried
    it sucked

  • bobbyB

    Your neighbor needs to put his shoes back on :) lol

  • paddytag

    Yeah. But, your mouse?

  • M G

    Can you explain the toilets part?

  • wyclif

    You should direct the Furinno link to the product; that would be helpful for people who want to know where they can get one.

  • ArshadGC

    He he, yeah, I cropped those feet out of the picture since you said that. Good catch.

  • ArshadGC

    Done!

  • sam

    Of course, no one should be working at a computer for 8 hours a day 5 days a week in any position if optimal health is important.

    However, given that we are going to do that anyhow, and given the option between those problems caused by standing and the problems caused by sitting for 30 years will inflict, which is the lesser evil?

  • Cyril Bouthors

    I’m using the exact same standing desk and came to the exact same conclusions.

    The only difference is that my laptop stand is called “Lavolta” but it look the same and is cheaper: http://www.amazon.com/WoneNice-Adjustable-Multifuctional-Ergonomics-Alloy-Silver/dp/B00ASV4YEY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1377639194&sr=8-2&keywords=lavolta

  • Craig

    Where’d you get that stand that goes on the desk like that? I want to try this myself. I have ADD really bad sometimes I think standing will let me burn off the excess energy I get sometimes to actually concentrate.

  • ArshadGC

    I’ve ended the article with a link… good luck!

  • Joao

    Perhaps you could have the best of both worlds – work standing in the morning and sitting in the afternoon, for example.

  • George L

    I have found similar results with my own standing desk. I do not stand all day, but most of the day, using a pad to stand on. To avoid foot pain, I do sit on occasion as well, but try not to do that too often. The most important thing to me is that I no longer get back pain that apparently was caused by sitting.

    I followed these instructions to make my own standing desk from pieces from Ikea: http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/Ikea-Standing-desk-for-22-dollars.html

    It was very cheap, and with very little experience in constructing things I was able to make it in an afternoon.

  • amboy00

    I love it. I could see myself coding this way.

  • ArshadGC

    Go for it!

  • ArshadGC

    Totally. A rolling stool is really effective for this.

  • ArshadGC

    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.charliepratt.com/ Charlie Pratt

    Three cheers for this. Ignore the haters, there’s always a downside to everything. The key is to mix it up a little, keep your body guessing. I’ve been doing it for about the same amount of time, and I love it.

  • ArshadGC

    This site does a better job of it, but basically our Western diets are high on meat, low on fiber, leading to constipation and excess straining on the toilet. Bad news for your veins, which, after years of straining, bust. http://www.drmcdougall.com/med_constipation.html

  • ArshadGC

    Thanks, Charlie! I think the way I worded the post makes it sound like I stand 10+ hours every day. I don’t… My work style is definitely laid back, with frequent breaks, walks, a nap every day, lunch away from my desk, and a few minutes of meditation daily, and reasonable hours. Standing is part of a holistic and healthy approach to work for me. Glad to see it is for you, too.

  • http://www.charliepratt.com/ Charlie Pratt

    I bet that other guy’s barber doesn’t do all that. :D

  • http://brandonbrown.io/ Brandon Brown

    I’ve been considering getting a stool. Thanks for reassuring my thoughts on the purchase :)

  • Guest

    whats the name of your stand and where can i buy it?

  • http://gc-taylor.com/ Greg Taylor

    I went with the super cheap route (the $15 stool in the lower left corner http://i.imgur.com/TiYJrZi.jpg). The only problem I ran into is that since my stool has no back to it, I tend to round my back and slump when I’m tired. When I get around to investing more in my workstation, a stool with a chairback will be one of the first things I grab.

    YMMV, though. Just figured I’d share that in case you’re a slumper too.

  • Egwor

    Do you get (or at higher risk of developing) varicose veins?

  • ArshadGC

    Depends. There’s a longer thread about this below!

  • http://www.buzzmeter.com/ jones1618

    I’m 40+ and I started using a standing workstation about 9 months ago, sometimes for as much as 14 hours a day. After the first week of adjustment, I’d say there aren’t too many downsides. The immediate upsides are clear for me: Increased attention and stamina, less back fatigue due to stronger core and increased tolerance for long lines (as another poster said). Without any other change, I lost about 5 pounds in a month. Not much, but better than nothing.

    What persuaded me to start, however, were the many longer term health benefits:

    LifeHacker: How Sitting All Day is Damaging Your Body
    http://lifehacker.com/5879536/how-sitting-all-day-is-damaging-your-body-and-how-you-can-counteract-it

    Forbes: Advantages and Disadvantages of Standing Desks
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2012/07/16/what-are-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-standing-desks/

  • ArshadGC

    There’s a link at the bottom of the article. Good luck!

  • ArshadGC

    Thanks for sharing your experience and these links!

  • http://coryg89.github.io/ Cory Gross

    It won’t be a stool anymore…

    define: stool

    a seat without a back or arms, typically resting on three or four legs or on a single pedestal.

  • madsravn

    I love this article. I have actually been annoyed that I don’t have a desk that I can raise to standing position at home. But with that gadget you’re linking to this will obviously become a possibility.

    May I ask how stable it is? I would love buying one, but I’d have to order it online from UK to get it. So I can’t try it out before I buy it.

  • http://bluesmoon.info Philip Tellis

    Have you felt any discomfort with having your hands at an upward incline? That’s what causes me the most pain, but I’m not standing yet.

  • Gnarl

    For a week now I’ve had a motorized standing desk. I find alternating between standing and sitting works best although I don’t sit for very long anymore. I agree with the author – standing helps concentration. Highly recommended. Expect your legs to kill you the second day, then you’ll be fine.

  • Damian Harvey

    I’ve been standing for about 2 years now. My back issues have all cleared up and I have more energy at the end of the day not less. I started with the typical boxes + reams of paper but I’ve moved on to this setup that allows me to sit occasionally. Cheap book shelf from Ikea and a monitor pole. All up ~$150 Aussie: http://imgur.com/3xKXlSp

  • Ukasz Nietwójinteres

    How do You manage to avoid wrist/hand pain when your elbows are hangin in the air and not resting on a solid surface (looking @ the picture)? I assumed that the need to rest your hands it is somehow simmilar to sitting, am I wrong?

  • Chris

    From your picture you look like you’re still a teenager. Wait a few years and update on your results.

  • Joseph

    Why don’t you buy a chair? It’s much more comfortable than standing…

  • Mako

    Yeah, that’d be the kicker for me. I’d have to have a setup that supports a mouse. Oh, and dual monitors.

  • http://ahmetalpbalkan.com/ Ahmet Alp Balkan

    I thought there’s a chance you could get vein varicosis, that’s usually seen in teachers who are teaching on foot a few hours a day. Did you get any symptoms of that? This is a widely known side effect of stand up desks.

  • pesto

    another negative side effect: harder to muffle your farts, since no chair is enclosing your buttocks

  • billy

    The MBA has a mouse built in…

  • Jeremy Toeman

    and maybe while he’s at it he should lower his desk?

    #really?

  • st

    ahahh

  • st

    good

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  • st

    how many???

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  • bb

    bbbbbb

  • Toeknee

    LapDawg sells something similar. http://www.lapdawg.com/. They also have one for iPads and another version with mouse pads called the Pug.

  • jp fielding

    compression socks and constant fidgeting help keep the muscles tense enough. i pseudo stair climb a bit, where i alternate rising on the calf with a bent knee. i also have leg weights and do hamstring work.

    but take a few 20-30 minute breaks every few hours (foosball is my preference).

    chef’s mat is also clutch on the bottoms of the feet.

    no observed cure for sitting, its painful to drive more than 2 hours for me.

  • http://341design.com.au Chris Howard

    I’d be curious to know how it affected you mentally with regards to your mind’s habits. That is, if I stand and work, my mind believes it is temporary, but when I want to do real work, and get into deep thought work (like coding), then my mind tells me that needs sitting!

    Did you find you had to train out that type of thought pattern and resist the urge to sit when you needed to think deeply?

  • ABinLA

    As a pro writer (who currently has a really nice Aeron Chair) thinking about this as an option for working, it just struck me, almost all of my good ideas (film, tv commercials) happen when I am not sitting. When I am walking in the park, standing in the shower, wrenching on the mountain bike, etc. Always thought it was because I was distracted/away from the glare of the screen, but perhaps it’s because I am not sitting. Because, as the body gets all cozy comfy in the chair, the energy does too, and soon enough, it’s in neutral. Gonna try this standing idea and see if, along with posture etc, the ideas also improve. Big thanks. – AB in LA

  • wowemily

    Two years does not a science experiment make. Also, you look like you weigh 100 pounds and are relatively young. Why would you think that you would have any problems? Humans can stand for long periods of time.
    Also, there is no way that you are as fast on your computer that way. Your mouse work will be slower, your typing will be slower, and every time you have to do something on your desk that does not involve your laptop, you will have to readjust.

  • wowemily

    Why put “pro” in front of writer. How about just calling yourself a writer. You wouldn’t say pro doctor or pro fireman. Me thinks you think too much about being a “pro” writer. Just write. Don’t worry about the “pro.”

  • ArshadGC

    Hi there – Great question! It actually gets more stable when you put a laptop on it. I’ve used this particular tray for just a few months so far, and it’s never fallen over. 3 other people in my office use this same device and no one seems to have trouble with flimsiness or instability.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/sholaabidoye/ Shola Abidoye

    There’s a study cited Dr. Robert Maurer (University of Washington, UCLA) that standing supposedly double’s one resting metabolism…..

  • Randon

    Somebody should try floating at work for 2 years LOL

  • Sits2Much

    Respect. Great article. Would have more respect, but missed the full disclosure on the referral Amazon.com link.

  • http://www.jdanny.com/ Joseph Daniel

    Take everything in moderation, including standing. Standing too long can also have negative effects. Think of it this way: Too much water can kill you (hyponatremia).

    I have a stand up desk as well but I alternate between standing and sitting every two hours or so. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the sitting, and it only becomes a problem when you sit for way too long.

  • Fitnessgeek

    I work from home and have through about getting a standing desk for a while now. Do you track steps at all have you noticed a difference in them between standing and sitting?

  • ArshadGC

    Interesting. I’d love to learn more. Let me know if you find it!

  • ArshadGC

    I haven’t tracked steps in a few years, but standing, for me, is a really active process. I shift constantly, rest frequently, rest one foot sometimes, and even dance around a bit while working.

  • ArshadGC

    Good point! I get a referral commission when people buy through that link.

  • ArshadGC

    True and fair point, Joseph. I actually take great care to work reasonable hours, get plenty of sleep, take frequent breaks, nap once a day, meditate, eat away from my desk, and work out daily. Unlike many other folks in the startup community, I work hard to minimize my 10+ hour days.

  • ArshadGC

    You know, I actually get my best ideas away from the computer. Often while doing something altogether different, and those moments seem independent of sitting or standing. That said, when I first started doing this, the fatigue of standing during the first 2 weeks was distracting, and my work probably suffered.

  • ArshadGC

    Thanks, Chris. I’m 37.

  • Spencer

    This post brought to you by the Furinno laptop stand.

  • ArshadGC

    Good point! I get a referral commission when people buy through that link.

  • Final_Word

    Or you could focus on the topic of this article.

  • Standing for 20+

    Do you only wear tennis shoes ? No high heels?

  • ArshadGC

    I understand that having the hands slope the other way than how I have it is actually better. No issues yet, but I’ll look into it more!

  • jean

    The Human physical structure was never made to sit but to stand and lie down

  • hyperdouche

    It looks like your fan is at ball-level. An unintended consequence of your arrangement might be low sperm count.

  • nickwoodhams

    Thats actually a great idea. Those things get really hot.

  • ests64

    Siting whole day is madness. Standing whole day is madness too. This is because our bodies like change. And the only sane solution is alternating. As Joe Kutner wrote in his “The Healthy Programmer” book (http://pragprog.com/book/jkthp/the-healthy-programmer), it is perfect when your work desk allows you to change between (at least) three different positions. The only drawback is that you’ll need an electric desk (like this one https://twitter.com/ests64/status/301259633463529473/photo/1 ).

    Also, we’re all different. F.i. you should be careful with standing if you have high blood pressure.

  • Joe Joejoe

    blah blah blah

    everyone thinks this or that is good for them:

    example; non solid ‘food’ meant to provide all essential nutrients

    the little known side effect: your teeth fall out within a few years due to lack of pressure from mechanical chewing. in dentistry it’s called an eruption.

    did you know that people who exercise religiously, tend to die earlier? there’s many reasons….one common one being adrenal failure. here’s another reason: your cells only have a limited number of divisions. telomere’s are directly linked to longevity. the more your cells divide, the shorter they get. exercise is about promoting tissue growth through tissue damage.

    if you ever looked at a professional marathon runners feet, you’d see some of the side effects of that exercising endeavor.

    everything is good for you……to a point. humans weren’t meant to sit all the time….but they also weren’t meant to stand all the time either. infact, humans evolved doing more sitting than standing.

    no matter what you do, you will eventually develop plantar fasciitis (google it) or something similar. and if done for years, you will definitely notice the side effects when you start reaching an elderly age. we often don’t realize how much harm we’ve done to our young bodies until they’re old and gray. then stuff starts cropping up. people in standing professions know this all too well, so it’s almost ancient knowledge by now.

    back problems don’t necessarily originate from posture….they can originate from issues with your legs. let’s say one leg is the slightest bit shorter than the other….boom, back pain because of the offset. maybe you’ve got a little limp from an old leg wound…boom, back pain.

  • mmendel46

    I’ve worked retail for years, standing every day of it with very little sitting time…….I have all of the first two bulletin points of “things I feared would happen”. ALL I want to do after work, every day, is sit the fuck down. Just…..sit.

  • aditya

    any suggestion how to work standing on an imac rather than a laptop?

  • Riccardo
  • bookofjoe

    1. Your screen is still too low. Your eyes should look straight ahead at its vertical midpoint.

    2. Add a treadmill and you will reap even more rewards. Trust me on this: I’m in year 9 of being in love with my treadmill workspace.

    3. Keys to the kingdom here: http://www.bookofjoe.com/2012/12/5-tips-on-treadmill-desks-world-exclusive.html

  • trinity

    Interesting to read your positive experiences. I’m a big fan – in theory – of standing up at work. I did it for 9 months last year and whilst I was doing it, I felt better. Backache disappeared, shoulder tension melted away and I felt like I had more energy. BUT after nine months I suddenly developed searing heel pain. Discovered that this was plantar fasciitis and I believe, but of course cannot prove conclusively, that this was due to the standing up, as that was the only part of my exercise/life that I changed.

    Unfortunately this is still a problem to me and I have had to stop running (which I did every other day for 4 years up to the injury) and when I stand or walk for too long I get very bad pains which take about 24 hours to fully clear.

    If I could go back in time I would have got myself a decent springy and thick mat to stand on and made sure that my arches were supported instead of leaving my (ofen bare) feet to take the strain. I AM in my mid-forties, so that’s likely to be a key factor, too.

    Once my injury is cured, I very much want to go back to standing at work for part of the time, but with proper foot support. (I don’t normally comment, by the way, but thought this might help someone prevent injury.)

  • Teri

    I am a nurse and stand for 8-10 hours a day. I’m also usually fast-walking to go from patient to patient. I’m over 50 & have been doing this for 20 years. I feel that it has kept me thin, more active and energized than my more sedentary peers.

  • UniBaller

    Nap? What? Who does THAT?

  • Erik

    I tried standing at the office desk. Again and again, after 20 minutes of standing, i start feeling pain in my back and spine. Did you feel in similar way at the beginning?

  • Ramona Gallegos

    Have a sit/stand and love it. Am well above 40 and am in meetings a lot, so have a mix of sitting and standing, which is working well. Relieved my shoulder and neck pain (I tend to bring my shoulders up when sitting and typing, leading to stiffness/tension). Use a foot stool to alternate one foot up, which has improved balance and leg strength. Regarding getting your best ideas away from the computer, you may enjoy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Flow-The-Psychology-Optimal-Experience/dp/0061339202.

  • http://ifamily.co.uk/ iFamily

    Great article Arshad,
    I have been using a standing desk for about a month now. I found the first week or so hard physically. I knew I had done a good days work. Now, I feel I have turned a corner with it. I don’t notice I am standing anymore. I am in my mid forties and the last 3 or 4 months I have let my exercise regime slip. But I feel this is working my core now. I tend to break the day up by listening to headphones while working, which gets my body dancing as I work.

    My father died at the age of 63 from bowel cancer. He was a chauffeur. Which as you might guess involves a lot of sitting. I believe his love of food and occupation contributed to his illness.

    To the negative comments about standing. I would say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Sure, we should try and build variation into our day but in the modern world most of us have to work. If your work involves countless hours in front of a computer, you have two choices stand or sit. I think standing is the healthier option. Our bodies were designed with feet. In many parts of the world people will squat, which is probably a good thing. But in the west we designed chairs. Maybe this was not such a great idea?

    I often incorporate Chi Kung (“energy work”) exercises into my standing while working now. These are great. In fact “Standing like a tree” is often used as an exercise to develop body awareness in T’ai-Chi Ch’uan. If you are feeling discomfort then your posture is not right. I have heard it said that pain is just “stuck energy”. So the more in-tune you are with your body, the more sensitive you are to discomfort. Practising Chi Kung or Tai Chi daily will help you get more in-tune to your body so after time your body will adjust without any thought. I also think that the Alexander Technique would be worth studying too, though I haven’t studied it.

    What ever your choice, be it standing or sitting I agree with what others have said; take regular breaks.

  • 3ng

    Actually the side fan is for air intake so no issues with your ballz.

  • Alex

    It seems to me that the main goal of your article is just to promote Power 20 application… and you did it well :)

  • http://gc-taylor.com/ Greg Taylor

    Hm, I didn’t think about that. Ah well, at least things will stay toasty in the winter :)

  • Eyeman

    It seems odd to optimize the position of your whole body, but stick with a laptop at your desk, which forces your hands to be too high and your eyeline to be to low.

  • fin

    At one time I was hitch-hiking into and out of town each day to reach my university course. I had no Internet access at home so all course material had to fit on my 256MB flash. In the evening I would work on my 10 year old laptop in a standing position. It made a huge difference – reduced fatigue, micro-breaks away from the screen were less disruptive of workflow, and no bad backs or neck-ache. I highly recommend this to anyone.

  • fin

    You are free to walk about when in front of a laptop, a barber has to remain semi-stationary as the customer wouldn’t appreciate it if the barber took short ‘ponder’ or rest walks. I would work for 5 – 10min at a time then take a short walk. It worked for me and no signs of thrombosis etc.

  • jason

    I bought a varidesk pro. Enough space for dual monitors, full keyboards and mouse. Very easily go from sitting to standing. Love it!

  • JohnRM

    I’ve been using a standing desk for about 6 months. I went the cheap route and got a flat-pack coffee table from Wal-Mart. It raises my keyboard to 45 inches. I have a triple monitor stand that was tall enough setting on top of the desk by itself. My desk is U-shaped so I still set down when I’m doing paperwork, but that’s usually just a couple of hours per week. I have found that I have better posture too. The first few weeks were the killer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elena.drozdova.14 Elena Drozdova

    Wow! So interesting! Good job!

  • AntonZ1

    I’m a machinist by trade. I’ve stood my entire career (at least 8 hrs. a day) as does every other machinist. The authors choice to do away with padded shoes, and mat, will change after a few years. His feet may not hurt now, but after a couple decades without support, he will see (actually feel) the error of his ways.

  • BrotherRabbit

    Or you could just go to the gym and lift weights / do cardio and you can avoid this nonsense.

  • billy jean

    Arshad Chowdhury is a founder of the Power 20 App. This article is just a plug for his application. Come on, now…

  • ArshadGC

    Absolutely true.

  • Jason Mulholland

    Sit/Stand Desks are widely accepted as best practice. Most chairs are awful, and will not only cause you back pain, but they’ll also slowly kill your body’s metabolism, energy levels, etc. What a sit/stand desk does is promote movement. Your body – back, legs, feet, etc. – craves movement. Our bodies were built to move. We humans are dynamic creatures, not static. We’re not made to stand still nor sit still for 8+ hours per day. The author is benefiting from movement, not standing still.

    If you do have to sit still, there’s only one chair I recommend. It’s the one I use, and the only one I’ve found that will not cause back pain or fatigue. Ironically, it promotes movement while supporting the back. This’ll help explain more about the body needing movement. http://www.sitnmove.com/back-pain-whats-really-important/

  • ArshadGC

    Thanks for that, Ramona! I’ll check out Flow.

  • jake

    I guess when your 60 and your joints are burnt out from never resting it will be worth it.

  • ArshadGC

    Jeez, that would suck. However, I’ve heard that not using your joints is worse than actually using them. So sedentary people feel more aches and pains, gain more weight, and are the ones who feel knee and hip problems sooner.

  • teddy

    @trumbitta:disqus, your view is anecdotal and completely unscientific.

    Studies have shown that streetcar operators, who must stand all day to operate levers, had significantly better cardiovascular health than bus drivers, who sit.

  • Richard Simon Just

    I can highly recommend using a wobble board at the same time. Your legs get a little more movement, and you get a slight core workout.

  • ocv808

    I think he meant drafting chair…

  • trumbitta

    Source? :)

  • Joss McKernan

    What is the name of that desk you are using?

  • mithun.mi6

    may be you should watch out for “varicose veins” developing in your both legs…. it normally occurs in those who have to stand for a long time during work due development of venous hypertension in both the legs… so while standing try to keep your calf pump active by standing on your toes in between your work.

  • mark

    Wait until you reach the age of 50 and if you are still doing the same type of work and still standing, answer the same questions once again. I bet you will an entirely different outlook and answers.

  • trumbitta

    I agree with all you wrote, except that people who religiously exercise in Tai Chi or Qi Gong dies way older and fitter than the average.

  • Curious questioneer

    Since standing desks are so controversial, it would be interesting to see how an individual’s height plays a roll in its comfort and safety. The author of this story appears to be of medium/short height in the picture. For those that state standing desks are not comfortable, how tall are you?

  • Daniel

    it‘s said not good for your kidneys

  • Thomas Mansencal

    Thanks for the article, very nice to have feedback from somebody doing that! I was wondering what’s the name of the support you are using to raise your laptop?

  • roger mi

    No hiding that awkward boner either!

  • Pappa Smurf

    Actually low temps should boost the swimmers

  • JonathanTHS

    Arshad, I’m with The Human Solution – our CEO really liked your blog post! We’re always glad to see someone making the switch to a standing workstation! Of course, it’s always ideal to have an adjustable height desktop to better fit your needs like our UpLift 900 or UpLift 975 desks. You can check them out for yourself here: http://www.thehumansolution.com/uplift-adjustable-height-desks.html

  • David

    Looking good, Arshad! :)

  • Aurelian

    Winston Churchill also stood as he composed speeches or did any writing in general. You are in august company!

  • rumurphy

    I ordered that Furinno laptop stand after seeing this and it is insanely flimsy. You can’t type without the whole stand wobbling around. Wanted to like it but returning.

  • florida

    Your post has both negative and positive points, but they usually doesnt work for everyone. The idea of standing for long time mostly leads to fatique.

  • Pettifogger

    I have had a stand-up desk for a few months and like it. My computer is all that is on the stand-up desk, so when I work with paper, I typically sit. At least 60% of my work, however, is at the computer.

  • Pettifogger

    I recall seeing a photo of Churchill at his stand-up desk with a cigar. He lived to about 90. Obviously all employers should provide their employees with stand-up desks and cigars.

  • ArshadGC

    I’ll try to remember that! For me, age 50 is just 13 years from now.

  • ArshadGC

    The problem is, the benefits of exercising for 30 minutes every day can be erased if you sit for the rest of the day. Sitting is its own pathology, like smoking.

  • ArshadGC

    You’re right. I use a different setup at my home office. At home, I use a standing desk with a desktop computer.

  • ArshadGC

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I’ll look into both Chi Kung and the Alexander Technique. You’re right; if we’re going to be working in front of computers all day, we should find ways to do so that are healthy and sustainable.

  • you really suck

    Dude you really think your so smart go work a real job. I think the food industry from McDonalds workers to your under paid waiteress at you snooby cafe stands all day too ask them how it fells YOU SUCK

  • ArshadGC

    Sorry about that. It works fine for me, but it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone!

  • Mark D.

    Have a look at the (half standing-half sitting) seat by FOCAL.
    http://www.focaluprightfurniture.com/

    I use one of these and I love it!

  • Babs1699

    Where can I find the tabletop workstation in the picture? Who makes it? This looks like a perfect start without investing in a $900 motorized desk.

  • Padraig

    Another true side effect (and I’m not kidding) … much less likely to get hemorrhoids. Seriously. =)

  • cbunix23

    I found I still have to sit for work requiring intense concentration, otherwise standing a few hours a day works fine for me.

  • David Govett

    One side-effect I’ve noticed is that people who stand all day feel compelled to tell everybody else about it.
    I also notice that they are under 30 years old. Try this at 60.

  • ArshadGC

    True, folks who do it tend to proselytize, sort of like vegetarians! Anyhow, I’m 37. Is that old enough to try this?

  • ArshadGC

    Really? Awesome!

  • ArshadGC

    There’s a link (Amazon affiliate link) at the bottom of the post. Check it out!

  • ArshadGC

    Yeah, working with paper is a lot easier sitting down. That’s why I like my setup; there’s still desk space below me if I need to draw or write on paper.

  • emersonushc13

    Facebook let me know how many opinions my friends have. It’s made me want to never say a word about anything again.

  • nursecathy123cat

    He drank a lot, too.

  • nursecathy123cat

    Surgical staff agree with you. Standing for long periods of time is hard on your feet and veins.

  • David

    I think it has been shown by the commenters that standing can be hazardous to your health, and also that sitting can be hazardous to your health. I wouldn’t do any lying down either. To summarize: avoid all positions.

  • http://1n73r.net Justin Garrison

    I have been standing now since Jan 2010 and have had a variety of different standing desks along the way. Here are some tips I usually tell people who are getting started.

    - Don’t force yourself to stand just because you have a standing desk. If you get tired, sit down and take a break.

    - Plan for breaks especially early on. I always planned for sitting breaks during meetings, while I was on the phone, and at lunch.

    - Get a standing mat to start with. It helped me a lot with ankle fatigue after my first 8 months without a mat

    - If possible, raise the entire desk instead of just your kb/m/monitor. It will encourage you to stand while using your desk space and you won’t need to balance things on a narrow stand. Also get a tall chair if you raise the entire desk.

    - When you do sit, learn how to sit properly http://youtu.be/k1luKAS_Xcg

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/sholaabidoye/ Shola Abidoye

    I recall reading it in one of Dr. Maurer’s presentations here:
    http://scienceofexcellence.com/kaizen-lectures-presentations.php

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/sholaabidoye/ Shola Abidoye

    FOUND IT! Quote:
    “…..just standing from a Sitting position – doubles your metabolic rate.
    Go for even a short walk and you have more than doubled the burn rate again.

    McArdle, WD, Katch, FL, and Katch, VL. Essentials of
    Exercise Physiology.

    Malvern: Lea & Febiger, 1994.
    See slide 22 of Dr.Maurer’s presentation “Changing for Good: The Kaizen Way”

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/sholaabidoye/ Shola Abidoye

    “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack
    is about the same as smoking.”

    Martha Grogan, cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic

    Wall Street Journal, 2012, April 17, ppD1

  • Holly McKee

    Could you please send me a link to the company where you purchased your standup laptop desk. My colleague and I are looking for options that wouldn’t require the purchase of an entire desk. Thank you for your assistance!

  • Arshad

    You can see a link at the bottom of the blog post.

  • Arshad

    Thanks for that!

  • ArshadGC

    Great tips. I agree completely that the standing mat helps to start!

  • Bob_Robert

    Low impact full body movement is the absolute best. Yoga is another example.

    People who try to get “instant” results are just killing themselves.

  • jason

    I stand at work for 6 days a week. I get back pain, I am exhausted, my ability to focus and concentrate drops by thursday, My legs have been the same for the entire 5 years I’ve been working their. Oh BTW, I am vegetarian, go to the gym, and play soccer.

  • adrian

    What type of standing desk is that in your photo – and link?

  • Dayna Sherman Martin

    I love my standing desk and totally agree about the difficultly I have now sitting for long periods — I get so fidgety when sitting! I’ve been using the stand steady because it can hold my two monitors http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E0ODMB6 . Yours looks very nice, but I need more than just a laptop.

  • Nicole

    What computer stand is that?

  • ArshadGC
  • ArshadGC
  • ArshadGC
  • adrian

    Thanks, odd they promote it as a bed desk…

  • http://ryangiglio.com/ Ryan Giglio

    I could never work full-time with a trackpad. The precision of a mouse is unparalleled.

  • brunobensaid

    Hi Arshad, thanks for the recommendation. I shipped the standing desk to Europe (was pricy but quick). Testing it now. it is definitely hard at the beginning, but I can feel some muscles are working, and need to make sure I take many breaks at the beginning, like you suggested. I noticed on your standing position that your work position might be slightly off (I am not kidding). your monitor is a bit too low (at least if you follow recommendations from mainstream sites on this). There should be no more than 30degres between your eyesight and the screen top bezel. Also, it seems your hands are too high compared with your elbows. check this http://www.wikihow.com/Set-Up-an-Ergonomically-Correct-Workstation for more recommendations. Again, thanks for the health tips. please keep them coming, and happy to exchange.

  • Arshad

    Hope it works!

  • ArshadGC

    Bruno – how has the standing desk been coming along?

  • ArshadGC

    Dayna, I’ve added this for people with monitors: http://arshadchowdhury.com/1735-how-to-set-up-a-standing-desk-with-a-monitor/

  • brunobensaid

    not really using it anymore, although I love it. was good for a while, but my lower back and butt hurt (really). I really need a walking desk (therefore walking belt)

  • Ange

    “an entire day” or “the entire day, every day”?