The Best Thing I’ve Done For My Health Lately

Ω January 9th, 2013 Ω Tagged , , , , , , , , , Ω 18 Comments

As you guys know, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I look for ways to increase my health all year long. The latest addition to my healthy living repertoire was actually suggested by Peter (!) Yes, I know – I’d like to think my desire for healthy living has gradually transferred to him through diffusion (not osmosis, dear reader. We don’t regularly dissolve into solution.)

There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about the dangers of sitting for long periods of time. Not only is there a correlation between long periods of sitting and chronic disease, sitting for 11 or more hours a day correlates with increased risk of death. Even regular exercise doesn’t seem to offset the risk.

(I’d like to point out that, as with many studies related to health issues, it’s difficult to pinpoint a single cause for a range of health problems. The gold standard of research – the randomized controlled trial – is the only way to show causation. Remember, folks: Correlation DOES NOT EQUAL Causation.)

Anyhoo, I spend a lot of my day working in front of a computer, and so I’ve had the idea for a standing desk in the back of my mind for a while. I’d done some preliminary research on standing desks a few months ago and was shocked at how much they cost. Check out the slideshow at the bottom of this page for examples. Yeah, I don’t have $1000+ to spend on a standing desk, thank you very much.

Then Peter came across this webpage outlining how to build your own standing desk for $22. Yes, please!

The standing desk isn’t adjustable, but for about 2% of the price, I don’t care. The desk involves the following parts from Ikea:

*The LACK side table.
*The EKBY VIKTOR shelf.
*2 EKBY VALTER brackets.
*Screws (will cost more if you don’t have any already).

The assembly instructions are about 1/4 of the way down this page. Note that the instructions assume you have your own sitting desk already. Unfortunately, Ikea doesn’t ship these parts, so you’ll have to go in person to pick them up. Alternatively, you may find similar parts at another store.

Peter and I picked up the parts at the New Haven Ikea while we were in Connecticut over Christmas. I ended up getting a slightly larger shelf (ANTONIUS, $1 more in store) and different brackets (EKBY STILIG, same price) because I wanted my desk to be all one color, and I didn’t want that color to be bright red. Peter and I bought two LACK tables each so that we’d have a larger work surface, plus an extra setup for Peter’s office at school, so that’s six tables, six brackets, and three shelves = three double standing desks for $103.94 + tax. Not too shabby!

Check out the results:

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I’m in the middle of digitizing my family’s old pics, hence the scanner underneath the LACK table.

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Side view so you can see the brackets:

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An awesome person at work:

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I stacked my laptop on a book to bring it more toward eye level.  I’ll probably add another one, or use the wire frame to the right of the LACK table.

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Thumbs-up!

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I’ve been using this desk for about a week now and I love it!  My posture has improved and, surprisingly, I feel less tired after a bout of computer work than I did before. Of course, if you have trouble standing or have been advised not to stand for long periods of time, I would not try this or any standing desk.  I keep a stool under my desk (you can see it in the bottom of the above picture) to relax my legs every so often. Just like sitting for long periods of time has been tied to health troubles, standing for long periods of time may have negative consequences we don’t know about yet. Moderation, y’all.

Even though I bought two LACK tables, I ended up using only one because I like having extra open space on the side of my desk (see pic #1 above). I put my other table over Bonnie’s dog bed because I know she likes to sleep in nooks (as seen in this post, for example). She immediately partook:

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Peter also went with the all-white setup for his home desk, but for his school office, he’s going for a black-tan-bright red combination.  I’ll take a picture after we set it up.

So, what if you can’t build or buy a standing desk? Check out ways to increase your daily movements at the bottom of this page.

See you Friday, dear reader!

Q: Have you ever tried a standing desk? What do you do to increase your movements during the day?

More Happy 'n' Healthy:

» Filed under How To » 18 Comments

18 Responses to “The Best Thing I’ve Done For My Health Lately”

  • Joanne says:

    I thank the heavens every day that working in a lab means that I’m running around and doing experiments and standing up constantly…I’d go crazy if I had to sit all day long! The standing desk IS a great idea though!

  • Lucy says:

    This is so cool! I’m very impressed that you guys set it all up yourselves! I’ve never tried a standing desk but I can never sit still for too long anyway so hopefully I’m integrating enough movement into each day.

  • Wow, that is such a great idea! And good job putting it together. Way to save money but still get what you wanted! I have a Gaiam ball chair to help with posture and core use while doing desk work. It is helpful, but you can still sit in it with poor posture.

    I try to walk around when I can. I’m a therapist so I’ll sit still for 45-50 minutes straight, so in between sessions I’m hopping around my office and moving things around. I do my session notes on my iPad, and I’ve been thinking about doing them standing up so it isn’t more time sitting. I also take breaks during the day to walk my dogs and having that movement in the middle of the day is SO helpful.

  • I LOVE the sound of the standing desk – that would suit me down to the ground. I hate sitting down so much and I’m always fidgeting and getting up to do stuff. I’m a nightmare to sit next to on planes because I’m up and down every ten minutes or so ;-)

    Well done!

  • Christa says:

    Hey Jess! I actually enjoy sitting down on a desk to work, I think it helps me concentrate. I feel more confident speaking while standing up, but feel more relaxed and calm while sitting down. Even though I spend several hours in front of a computer, I do get up a lot to make coffee or look out the window or just walk about, and I have to climb up and down two flights of steep stairs to get to the ladies’ (what kind of cardiology clinic would it be if it didn’t offer opportunities for excercise? hehe). Having said that, ever since I started proper desk work I have gained 3 kilos in one year. Sounds like nothing, but for me this is unprecedented! Could there be a link? (Somehow I think this would never be approved for a prospective randomised controlled trial, so will forever remain a mystery :P)

    • Jessie says:

      Hi Christa! Your comment about your clinic made me laugh – so very proper! ;) The most weight I ever put on at once was my first job out of college (a desk job) – funny how I never moved around but was still so tired at the end of the day!

      I definitely agree about the RCT – or lack, rather. Oh, well :P

  • Courtney says:

    nice job jessie. looks comfortable!

  • Melinda says:

    That’s awesome! I love that idea. That would not work for me at work because I have people in my office and I would hate to be towering over them, and at home I would be all for it, but I have vertigo and I would fear for my life lol! But, I do stand whenever I can and it makes people nervous. Like in waiting rooms, if I have been sitting all day I will stand for 15-20 minutes. I now have a fitbit one so I can easily see if I am making it to 10,000 steps a day (if I go to the gym it’s a lot more!) and I walk around the office as much as possible. I definitely think your standing desk rocks and you rock for using it!

    • Jessie says:

      Thanks, Melinda! I know what you mean about standing making people nervous, especially in places where people don’t usually stand! According to Peter, people stand during talks at work, which I think is a great trend (and helps to normalize it).

  • Monet says:

    So great! I love standing while writing. Where I work, I have a standing desk (thank goodness!) I feel so much better after a day of work than when I used to sit in a cubicle all day long. Thank you for sharing!

  • My standing desk has made work so much more bearable. . . and mine isn’t nearlyas swanky as yours since I just used cardboard boxes to hack a standing workstation

  • LOVE IT!! Actually, funny story…I was at work the other day and I walked past someone’s office and noticed they had one of these!! Yep, but it was wooden. I have her a HUGE pat on the back, I think it’s awesome.
    I put my laptop on our kitchen counter when I blog, and stand in the kitchen. IT works well, for now :)

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