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.
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