Life is just too short to use a standing desk.
Yes, I realise the irony: I’m probably making my life shorter by sitting for a large portion of the day.
I know. That’s why I tried a standing desk. And then I decided I don’t care.
When I started at Business Insider, I noticed that several people in the office use a standing desk. In fact, the New York office even has a treadmill desk (although nobody was using it when I was there).
My first thought was how healthy everyone must be! And what great posture they all have!
And then I read up on the subject. You burn more calories while standing. A standing desk might make you more productive. You lower your risks of getting all sorts of diseases by standing more often than sitting. A standing desk might even save your life.
But after trying out a standing desk for a couple months, I quickly realised that I’d rather have terrible, hunched posture and a shorter life than stand while doing my work.
Standing for a majority of the day makes me feel tired and is hard on my knees. I’m actually sitting at my standing desk right now as I write this, and have been for the last 5 hours. Sitting just feels better. I know that’s not really ergonomically responsible for me to say.
But that’s not the desk’s fault.
I tried out the Jarvis Desk from Ergo Depot. It’s a sturdy, beautiful piece of furniture that can be customised to fit your room’s aesthetic. It’s on the pricey side, however; the configuration I have comes out to almost $US850.
But that’s because this desk is pretty awesome. The trick with standing desks, or so I’ve been told, is that you shouldn’t just suddenly stand for 8 hours a day. You need to work up to it, get your body used to being in a position it’s not used to being in for so long.
The best part about the Jarvis is that it uses an electric motor to go up and down, so if you want to go from standing to sitting, you can at the push of a button. Even better, the desk has a memory function so that you can program it to raise itself to different heights and the desk will remember.
It also has wheels and a tray in the back that holds all your cords. As far as standing desks go, it’s a Cadillac.
But Cadillac or not, I’m still not sold on the concept of a standing desk.
I decided to take a (not so) scientific approach to using this standing desk, so I created a spreadsheet to log how many hours I was actually standing per day. As the days wore on, I noticed that although I was able to stand for longer periods of time, I actually felt worse.
“My knees hurt,” I wrote after a particularly long session of standing for 3 hours.
“Owwwwww,” I wrote after spending 2.5 hours standing around.
And that’s when I started reading articles about the risks of using a standing desk. One writer started feeling numbness in her toes and leg. And, it seems, the jury is still out on whether there really are any benefits to standing at all.
“It’s a creative idea, but it’s not been scientifically proven,” Marc Hamilton, a professor of inactivity physiology at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Lousiana, told the Seattle Times. “As of now, there’s really no research to show they do any good.”
You benefit from a standing desk, especially from an adjustable one, because it’s supposed to stimulate movement. The nice thing about an adjustable desk is that it makes moving around really convenient: push a button and you’re standing at full height; push another button and you can slouch a little bit.
But maybe that’s part of the problem. Sitting is just a button-press away.
I can move just as much, though, if I’m sitting. In fact, when I sit for a long period of time, I force myself to walk around the block. I sometimes — much to the dismay of everyone around me, I’m sure — do squats in one of the conference rooms. And pushups against the wall. Sitting reminds me that I’m lazy, therefore I remind myself to not be lazy.
When I stand for too long, I forget that I should actually move.
So here’s the bottom line: If you’re a firm believer in standing while working, the customisable and beautiful Jarvis desk won’t disappoint you.
Especially if it turns out you’d rather be sitting most of the time anyway.
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