Groshans, an advertising sales assistant, works at her
standing desk at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on
Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 in St. Louis. Groshans divides
her time between sitting and standing. She says it has
helped her with her back pains.
LOUIS ó If sitting is the new smoking, then quitting the
sedentary habit can be just as tough.
have been a slew of headlines linking sitting at a desk for
hours to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, muscle
degeneration, a bad back and a slower brain. The hours I spend
in front of a computer each day reportedly make me twice as
likely to have cardiovascular disease, more likely to get
colon, breast or endometrial cancer and increase my risk of
dying in general.
time to make a move.
newsroom has a limited number of standing desks that have been
passed around on a first-come-first-served basis or inherited
through attrition. I wasnít likely to get a new workstation
anytime soon, so I opted to try the InMovement Elevate Desktop
DT1 ($299), designed for laptop users.
mounts on a table or desk with a clamp and creates an
adjustable surface that lets you shift from standing to
sitting. I had it mounted to a bookshelf behind my desk. In
theory, I would place my laptop on top of it and
intermittently disrupt my chronic sitting.
latest studies suggest we should be standing for at least two
hours of our work day and building up to four hours. That
sounded reasonable before I attempted it.
derailed my effort to stand and work?
would guess that breaking habits would be the biggest
barrier," said John Thyfault, associate professor at the
University of Kansas Medical Center, who studies the
physiology of sedentary behavior.
our bodies become unaccustomed to standing for that long at a
stretch and our workplaces can be inhospitable to change.
hour on my feet, I got tired. If my feet or back started to
hurt, my impulse was to fall back into a comfortable position
ó a seated one. But, there were also limitations imposed by
the workspace itself. My phone was too far from my relocated
standing area, which made it impossible to conduct interviews
at my desk.
was able to overcome the structural challenge in his office.
office at KUMC is very nice, but it has a built-in round desk
that physically has to be removed. So, I went with a Varidesk,
which can be placed on top of the existing desk," he
everyone can find a convenient workaround to a design flaw in
the workspace, and that hurdle can make changing an ingrained
behavior even more of a challenge. The biggest obstacles that
make it more difficult to implement standing desks usage are
often related to leadership, work flow, finance and
understanding the science, according to James Levine, an
obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic and author of "Stand
surveyed dozens of my colleagues who have standing desks about
how often they actually use them, their answers included
several additional roadblocks that can get in the way of
the complaints involved bodily discomfort, inconveniences that
made the individualís work more cumbersome or sartorial
Iíve been standing at my desk for a couple of days, my feet
hurt, and I end up wiggling and shifting my weight
side-to-side a lot."
hard to read proofs or write while standing because the
surface area is so small."
the summer, I could take my shoes off and stand for up to four
hours a day. Now that itís winter, Iím not going to take
my boots off."
harder to use because I have two screens and only one adjusts
up and down with the desk."
level of my monitor is sometimes off (after resetting the desk
from standing to sitting) which leads to neck strain, so Iím
constantly tweaking it or adjusting it."
I stand for more than 1.5 hours at a time, my lower back
starts to hurt."
person said it was difficult to keep an ergonomically correct
workstation because the height of her desk would need to
change depending on whether she was wearing flats, mid-size
heels or high heels. And itís definitely not comfortable to
stand in high heels for hours.
whatever stood in the way of more standing, nearly every
respondent appreciated the option of being able to choose and
shared these benefits:
feel a lot more alert when Iím on my feet."
at my desk makes it easier to walk somewhere else in the
office. Once Iím standing, Iím a lot more active."
back would hurt from sitting in a chair all day."
use it every day! Itís 100 percent the best!"
just standing one hour a day makes all the difference in the
was a psychological impact that came up.
time I raise my desk, I think something like, ĎIím less
likely to suffer from the adverse health effects linked to
inactivity. Good job.í"
experts say this realization is key to increased use, better
long-term health and greater productivity.
workers on the benefits of standing up and moving around is
important," Thyfault said. Levine noted understanding the
positive return on investment as a key factor in encouraging
greater use of a standing workspace.
awareness, however, can have the opposite effect, as revealed
in this confession:
times, Iíve felt guilty for not standing all day."
a healthier work day
a printer or restroom on a different floor.
Leave the office for an afternoon stroll or coffee run.
a notification on your computer that reminds you to move every
up to talk to a colleague instead of sending an email.
a walking or standing meeting.
Stand while talking on the phone.
Pause and stretch.
a quick walk during a lunch break.
Build up the amount of time you stand gradually.