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New Experiment: Ditching the Chair

It's been in the news a lot over the past couple years: how sitting is one of the worst things we can do for our bodies.  And it's not just because of the inactivity factor, the actual sitting position is not one that our bodies have evolved to take up.

"What?" you say.  "We've been sitting forever! We sat around the campfire, around the kill, to do our work, etc.  It's totally natural!"

Well, no it's not.  In fact, it's probably killing us.  Those activities mentioned above are actually done in a squatting position, as I've talked about in past posts.

I've wanted to do the standing desk thing for a while, and more of late as I've gotten antsy about sitting all the time at work, feeling more stiffness in my joints and back, and just really feeling the effects of all the sitting.  I'm an active guy, but sitting undoes so much of that exercise I get.

It's very interesting.  I've found that I can wake up in the morning, feeling good and loose in the legs and back.  Then I'l go downstairs to get the day started (a task I normally do from the couch, "naturally" enough), and when I go to get up I find that my legs are sore from just sitting there.  I'll do some Grok Squats just to get the blood flow back into my legs.

So as I said, I've been looking at getting a standing desk, but I didn't want to wait till I could 1) save $300 to buy something like this or 2) for the weekend so I could make my own and bring it to the office.  And I didn't have a tape measure to get all the measurements with me, and I was really antsy this morning.

So here's my solution:

I cannibalized one of the overhead (well, now underhead) bins from my cubicle and turned it into the platform for my keyboard and monitors.  It's wide, it obviously fit on the desk, and it's sturdy.  Plus I don't lose the storage, and if I need to get something out of it then there's another opportunity to Grok Squat.  It's just about perfect.  The only downside is that I'm looking down at the monitors a bit and that's not ergonomically perfect.  In this case, though, I'll take it.  It's better than sitting all day.  

Reactions have been mostly of the "oh, what's he up to now" variety, as well as "what happens when you want to sit down?"  I just tell them "well, then it's time to go to lunch," and smile.   

I'll keep you posted on how this is going.  So far, I like it (after a few hours).  I am getting my work done, I'm feeling good, and my back and neck are feeling pretty good.  

How about you?  Is this something you could try at work?  


  1. This is something I've always wanted to try as well. My issue is with my tasks usually require me to have printouts of drawings that are varying sizes of paper to reference. I would need to construct a larger elevated platform that basically extents my current desktop size.

    Nice re-use of the overhead bin! Looking forward to hearing how it goes. One question, what type of shoes do you normally wear to work? Are they more cushioned? I feel like the amount of shoe support would affect your comfort and posture standing all day.

    1. Hi Ryan! Yes, the tasks of the job definitely make a difference in the design of such stuff. I'm a computer programmer and mostly am staring at my two monitors all day. This design (which puts my eyes just above cube level so I can see around the office) also has the benefit of letting me take my eyes off the screens at will, letting them rest a bit, too.

      I nearly always wear minimalist shoes for the most part. My go-to shoes are VivoBarefoot Gobi shoes, with very little padding. The floor in my cube is carpeted with a standard institutional carpet so it's not too cushy, but enough that it's probably similar to what cashiers have under their feet to relieve foot soreness. But that's a good question. I'll keep that in mind for update posts.

    2. Thanks Steve! It was sort of one of those "it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission" moments. :) I just DID it.


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