I’ve been inspired by Mark & J.T., 2 of the 6:30am crew who recently modified their sit down workstations to a standing ones. I’ve tried to follow their lead and get off my behind all day and it’s been a pretty positive experience so far. My feet, ankles, and calves have been a little more fatigued than usual as my body adjust to standing for longer periods of time, but with a little stretching and ankle mobility drills I’m ready to WOD. Personally, I just got fed up with the afternoon lethargy, the general crappy feeling after sitting for most of the day, and always having tight hip flexors and dormant glutes that have to be reminded everyday how to fire correctly. Kelly Starrett is a huge advocate of getting up out of the “Chair of Death” because it quite literally is stunting your athletic potential and may quite literally be killing you. According to this Mark’s Daily Apple post, sitting for extended periods of time has been linked to increased mortality and metabolic syndrome regardless of how much exercise an individual gets. However if caught in a situation where you have to sit for awhile, frequently change your sitting position so the force gets distributed differently on your body and you can at least minimize the degradation. Shoot, if you have to sit why not do some stretching?
I first read about the benefits of a stand up desk on the CrossFit Invictus blog and it has since intrigued me. Mark Sisson’s post brings up a great point on how ingrained sitting is in “modern” culture. Talk about things that run contrary to human evolution and how our bodies have been designed and sitting is definitely a chart topper. I’ve posted in the past on tips to maintain proper posture if and when you do sit, but why not go all the way and minimize sitting down all together? A few of the benefits of spending less time sitting are reduced back pain, improved posture, strengthened legs and feet, increased hip mobility, increased energy levels, improved concentration, and an overall increase in productivity at work. According to this post, in some Asian companies standing is widely accepted as companies experience more energetic and productive employees, lower health care bills, and simply put it takes less energy for employees to walk around and get involved with things going on around the company, so employees and managers are inclined to be more involved and aware of what’s going on around the company. In my opinion the benefits far outweigh the downsides, which occur mostly in the initial adjustment period, with sore or tired calves and feet usually topping the list. A stool or taller chair can ease the transition, as I find myself sitting when folks stop by to meet, during some meals, and just every so often to take some load off of my feet. The adjustment period can last anywhere from a week or so to more than a month, probably depending on variables like posture and leg strength. You might also get a lot more attention (which can be good or bad I suppose) as folks will be intrigued when they see you standing instead of sitting. If you catch any flack from your boss or peers you can use some of the research links posted in the Mark’s Daily Apple post above to change their perception.
There are options to buy stand up desks/workstations in you plug in standup desk into your favorite search engine, but you can also create your own for a fraction of the price as long as aesthetics aren’t too important. Here’s a nifty online tool that will help you buy one or put your own standup desk together. I have a desktop computer at work and I was able to stack the monitor on top on the CPU which I set on top of my old sit down desk. The top of the monitor is a few inches shy of eye level but with a little upward tilt of the monitor I’m able to maintain a pretty upright posture without having to look down too far. The next challenge I faced was how to raise up my keyboard and mouse. I have a bunch of old 3-ring binders from various meetings, classes, and presentations sitting around my office that I
stacked on top of each other and also give a close approximation of the angles talked about in the calculator above. In the end just be creative and experiment. The lady in the CrossFit Invictus post above used milk crates and another flat surface. Mark Sisson used old books and other stackable objects to rig his standing workstation. If you travel a lot or do work in coffee shops or restaurants look for the taller cocktail tables as they’re pretty good height (for most) for standing. Do your best to get up, and stand up as often as you can and you’ll be better off for it.
Power Snatch 2-2-2 (moderate weight)
CF Games Open WOD 1
30 Double Unders
15 Power Snatches