Being Bruce -: What's Your Favorite Position; Sitting or Standing at Your Desk?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What's Your Favorite Position; Sitting or Standing at Your Desk?

More often than not, these days, you'll find me standing at my desk. That's right, standing, not sitting.

During the past week I've been gradually increasing my standing time while I work at my computer (as you can see in this first photo).

While I'm still getting used to it, and now wear sneakers (for padding and support) rather than deck shoes (or no shoes), I'm convinced this is better for me.

And hey, not only will it apparently lower my chances of having a heart attack by 54% (what????), lessen lower back pain, and improve my core body strength, I should also lose some weight by standing rather than sitting at my desk. So how cool is that?

Standing rather than sitting at your desk also apparently decreases the incidence of "numb butt", though I've  not heard it does anything to quell PITA accusations.

Ok, so I'm having fun with this whole thing, but there's more to it.

Earlier this week  I picked  up on a Yahoo!News story that referenced a Men's Health Magazine story about standing at desks. The Most Dangerous Thing You'll Do All Day.

Bottom line, not only will you have less bottom, but significantly lower your chance of heart attack if you work standing up.

So, not wanting to be too late to the party, I immediately started looking around my home and office for a way to elevate my notebook computer (which is my main working computer) on my desk.


The 10.5 inch high wooden box (which actually contains my collection of leftover childhood toys), was just the right height for comfortable typing.

I posted on Facebook about it that day and quickly several people commented. One, Adam McNutt, had tried it before and reassembled his desk and posted a photo on my wall of his set  up (much neater than mine)


(photo courtesy of Adam McNutt)

Of course neither Adam or I are as over-the-top (so to speak) as my old friend and business associate Alfred Poor.

In February Alfred constructed a Walking Desk!

The short version of his story is he bought a used treadmill, cut the head off, embedded the electronics in a hollow door, built a mount for the door and now, while he works 8-9 hour days he also gets in some miles. Not aerobic, for sure - he has the treadmill set to 1MPH and a 5% incline.

According to Alfred (who I never doubt because he seems to know everything plus he went to Harvard and all), he found some stats that the average human (whoever that is) burns 100 calories an hour sitting at a desk, 150 calories an hour standing at a desk, and 200 calories an hour walking at a desk. 

Here are empty and loaded shots of Alfred's setup (and no, he won't build one for you):

(Photo courtesy of Alfred Poor.)

(Photo courtesy of Alfred Poor.)


Turns out he'd already written about his project in Electonic Component News, so here's the link to that story about Alfred Poor's Walking Desk, with a lot more detail about how he built it.

I do still keep a chair handy, I still prefer to read sitting down, but when I'm using the computer or on the phone, chances are I'll be standing.

I would love to hear what you think about this or see photos of your stand up (or walking) workstations.

2 comments:

  1. Who you calling "old"?

    Thanks for spreading the word about getting off your butt at the workplace. Standing or walking, I'm convinced that it's better for you; I wish I had come across this 10 years ago (or more). It's never too late to start.

    Alfred Poor
    HDTV Almanac

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  2. Bright idea. But I don't think you can focus on your work. That equipment shakes when it runs.

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