Concerned about the long hours I spend sitting in front of a computer working at home, I had been wanting to jump onto the standing desk bandwagon for a while. Finally, when Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “sitting is the new cancer” (which actually doesn’t really make much sense; it would have been better to say “sitting is the new smoking” or something like that), I decided it was finally time for me to take the plunge with a standing desk! Here’s more evidence of the harmful effects of sitting.
I took a poll of my Facebook friends to see if any of them had tried it. I got back mixed results. Some loved it; some hated it. Most were in-between. Most people said that they don’t stand 100% of the time. Mixing it up between sitting and standing was the only way they could make it work.
Converting the Jerker to a Standing Desk
I decided to give it a try. I have an Ikea “Jerker” desk which was not originally designed as a standing desk; it pre-dates the whole standing desk craze. But, it’s incredibly versatile (there are whole sites devoted to it) and the surfaces can be raised to standing-desk height. I don’t think Ikea makes the “Jerker” desk anymore, but you might be able to find one on Craigslist. They are great desks; I have had mine for over twenty years.
So, I got out my hex wrench and went to work. Moving the desk surface and shelf on this desk is definitely not something I would want to do often – not even once a year. It’s a real pain to disassemble, move, and reassemble. So, this was going to be a “permanent” standing desk. There would be no lowering it back down when I wanted to sit like some of the fancy standing desks out there.
It took me multiple tries to get the height just right. I found the typing surface needed to be much higher than I thought. Here is a reference for where I mounted the shelves. I’m about 5′ 9 1/2″ tall:
In order to be able to sit from time to time, I swapped out my desk chair for a padded bar stool from my kitchen.
I immediately loved being able to work standing up! Standing up gave me a jolt of energy and gave me motivation!
However, that didn’t last long. In less than an hour, my legs were tired and I was back sitting at the stool. After using it for some weeks now, I probably only stand 10% of the time, if that much.
But, I still love my standing desk! Why? Because standing once in a while is invigorating. Standing up re-energizes me and gets me through those slow times when I don’t feel motivated to work. To me, that alone was totally worth it!
So, am I reaping the health benefits of a standing desk if I only stand maybe 10% of the time? I have no idea. But, I still love having a standing desk. I love being able to just walk up to my desk and check my email really quickly without sitting down or leaning over.
If you decide to take the plunge, here are my tips:
- If you want to save money, don’t get an expensive motorized desk that moves up and down. Just get a high desk and use a barstool or drafting stool to sit on. 29” high is a standard barstool height, and is what I use.
- The perfect desk height for me is 43 inches from the floor to the surface of the desk. I am between 5′ 9″ and 5′ 10″.
- I have not tried a foot mat because I have carpet, but I would definitely get one if I had hardwood floors.
- Don’t stand all day long!! Mix it up between standing, sitting, and exercise.
Converting Your Existing Desk
Here are some standing desks on Amazon, as well as products that convert a regular desk to a standing desk:
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Check out this site for reviews of standing desks.
So, I love my standing desk, not necessarily for the health benefits, but for the variety in working positions it affords me and the energy it gives me. When I’m groggy, I can stand up and get re-energized.
What are your experiences with a standing desk? Do you love it or hate it? – Brian