Standing 8 hours at work probably seems like misery to most people who sit at a desk all day. I have heard people relate to me that their feet hurt after standing for an hour. So it is with some surprise that I can report that switching to a standing desk is virtually painless. I have experienced absolutely no negative side effects since switching over a week ago, and I would argue that it has improved my posture, my focus, and how I work.
The first thing I read about when researching standing desks is that it will cause lower back soreness and foot pain. While I experienced mild discomfort in my heel for a few hours last week, that has all but subsided now. Without consciously realizing it my body has adapted several ways to deal with the experience of standing up for so long: shifting weight from left to right, standing on one foot, taking a wider stance, walking more around the office, and taking the occasional 5 minute break while sitting down.
I no longer feel sluggish at the office, and if this article in the LA Times about sedentary behavior has anything to say about how we live than there may be some significant health benefits outside of improving focus and managing energy levels.
What I must reiterate though is that everybody is different. I am 23 years old with relatively little wear and tear on my body. If I was 40 and had significant back pain I don’t know if the switch would have been as easy. In addition to being young, I started a fairly rigorous workout routine about 3 months ago that has supplemented my muscle development. No doubt this has influenced my body’s ability to adjust to standing, but how this has influenced how much pain or soreness I experience is questionable.
Finally, at the same time I switched to a standing desk I also switched to wearing Vibram Five Fingers, a minimalist shoe that mimics walking barefoot. These factors all lead to this experiment being incredibly unscientific. I haven’t controlled any variables and so I can’t say with any certainty that the standing desk alone has improved my work experience. All I know is that I am now a happier more productive person at work.
Despite not being terribly scientific, I do believe standing at work has been more than a worthwhile change, and I would whole heartedly recommend people give it a try.
This photograph by Jose Luis Rodriguez won the Veolia Environmental Wildlife Photographer of the Year. But it seems even photographs don’t tell the whole truth as he is being stripped of the award due to the possibility that the wolf in the picture was a trained animal.
Or the weirdness of having hyper-acute hearing abilities immediately after warm water is shot into your ear at a hundred miles an hour.
I swear I can hear individual hairs talking to each other while my beard sounds like it is screaming as it brushes the fleece on my jacket.
Does the brain help the ear over compensate when it is clogged up? How does that work? Does that mean we could all have super human hearing abilities if we just walked around with cotton balls in our ears most of the time? Taking them out only when we needed to hear somebody whispering under their breath a hundred feet away?
John Brockman’s yearly salon in Edge poses a question that occupies a lot of my time whether I like it or not. Every hour I spend surfing the web or perusing Reader is an hour where I have to grapple with this question. Not surprisingly, the 170 answers Brockman received from some of the worlds most interesting characters are well worth the hours it will take to get through them all.
So far, my favorite is Clay Shirky’s response.