Use a Standing Desk – Every body(part) Wins!

Up until a few months ago, I was a firm believer that my daily 45-60 minutes of exercise more than made up for the fact I spent most of the rest of the day sitting at my desk.  I had a change of heart about my daily routine after I read that sitting for more than 6 hours a day, regardless of how the rest of the day is spent, increases the risk of early death by 20-40%.

Upon hearing this startling statistic, my mind immediately turned to thinking about how I could get out of my chair, yet still be productive during working hours.  I remembered conversations I’ve had with several employees about standing desks, and decided to start using one at my home office – that way, I’d have no excuse not to stand for most of the day.  Using some textbooks and an extra shelf I had lying around, I rigged a pretty decent – and ergnomically-correct – standing desk that I now use whenever I work from home.  It only took a few minutes to set up the desk, and it hasn’t been difficult to make the switch from being totally sedentary to on my feet for several hours at a time. 

Hard at work, at my standing desk!

Hard at work, at my standing desk!

If you’d like to follow my lead (and the lead of several other state employees who inspired me), here are a few tips for setting up a standing desk at your workspace:

  • Use a box, basket, or a stack of books to elevate your keyboard and mouse (when you stand, your forearms should be parallel to the floor, without any creases in your wrists)
  • Prop up your monitor so that the top toolbar on your screen is at or below eye level (your goal:  glance at the screen as if you’re reading a book)
  • Keep monitor and keyboard at a comfortable distance for you – arms-length away or closer
  • If you have trouble seeing the screen, adjust the monitor, not your body
  • First-timers:  start by standing for 30 minutes every 2 hours
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