- “Most U.S. youths unfit to serve, data shows” Pentagon study reveals 35% age 18-34 physically unfit, was 6% in 1987.
- Obesity.org says “no state met the Healthy People 2010 objective of 15 percent”
- “Study Finds that Sitting May Increase Risk of Disease” (2007) stating, “Only 28 percent of Americans are getting the minimal amount of recommended exercise” and “exercising, even for an hour a day, was not sufficient to reverse the effect [of physical inactivity.]“
- “Rising obesity will cost U.S. health care $344 billion a year” by 2018 eating 21% of costs for the physically unfit.
A few months ago I sought out a new desk with adjustable legs so I could ensure proper keyboard height. The thought of standing while working crossed my mind, but table heights never reach high enough. I purchased a Gallant desk with extension from Ikea. Besides adjustable height, I liked the ability to connect parts to vary length including corners. The maximum height of the tabletop is 32 inches, too short for anyone standing taller than 66 inches.
My primary job places me at a desk working on a computer for 9 hours each weekday and sometimes a few hours on weekends. I also write stories and do artwork placing me at a desk in my free time which quickly loses appeal. My previous positions kept me moving about, so my current occupation is my first experience at office lifestyle. Even though I bicycle every day, I’ve noticed my health declining during the last 4 years. My cholesterol is up, my weight increased, and I’m tired more often. To compensate for a sore rear, cramped legs, and increasing tiredness I find myself walking around interrupting work. I sometimes kneel at my desk or march up and down the stairs trying to save my body from breaking down.
The article “Stand Up While You Read This” on New York Times points out that “your chair is your enemy.” At the bottom the opinion article sites studies that show that even daily jogging fails to offset the heart problems and obesity of sitting for too long. After my recent work experience, I agree. Bicycling everyday fails to offset the negative impact of sitting for 9 hours.
Modern jobs place many of us at a desk. American’s are in poor physical condition (not just obesity) driving up the cost of health care. Just look at the statistics. From 6% to 35% physically unfit youth in less than 30 years? We are a nation in poor health depending on older citizens to defend our country.
Do something about it. Get off your butt!
Enter the Standing Workstation
Standing while working at the computer seems like the natural solution, at the very least saving a sore rear. Since my desk is not tall enough, I searched for solutions to increase height. One option is placing the desk on a pedestal. I found a cheaper solution: purchasing two matching monitor stands. I placed my monitor on one stand and my keyboard and mouse on the other creating a narrow tabletop 6 inches above the desktop.
I remove the keyboard riser if I need an unbroken desktop space for other activities, or if I wish to sit. The desk height is easily adjustable, but not something I want to do for a short period. The risers I chose have adjustable legs so I can set the height for perfect typing while standing.
One advantage of standing for a few hours is that sitting is less painful, almost like relaxing. Typing while standing is no different than sitting. The key is proper keyboard height. Fingers should hang with palms off the surface while typing. My keyboard is at about my belt. I recommend switching between sitting and standing, and keep moving! After two weeks of using the standing desk at home, I find that I’m less distracted and more efficient. I get more work done!