On February 12 of this year, I made a big (and possibly trendy) move from sitting to standing much of the day at work. I initially wrote about it here and here.
Since then, I have been honing in on an ideal standing desk setup. I incorporated boxes of various sizes, bound reports, and other discarded office treasure to fine tune my standing desk setup so that my monitors were at a good height for my head and neck.
Over the weeks that followed the launch of my standing desk days, I experienced some lower back fatigue and foot pain, while my sciatic pain disappeared for good. After a month or so, my body seemed to reach a level of adjustment such that standing much of the day became normal.
Standing Desk Improvements
Based on comments from some of you, I made several improvements to my setup:
From Heels to Minimalist Shoes: Daily use of the standing desk and reading up about alignment prompted me to change to flat shoes, which I think is the right decision for my long-term health. I switched from footwear with a positive heel to using minimalist shoes all the time while standing.
My preferred footwear is Vivobarefoot. I also have a pair of Merrell gloves that I use, but I prefer the toe box and styling of the VivoBarefoots. I now have a desk drawer full of heels. I’ll pull them out occasionally for meetings, but generally they stay in the drawer.
Even though I feel more comfortable wearing flat or minimalist shoes, it’s been strange to realize how much I liked wearing heels. Until my standing desk switch, I wore at least a one to two inch heel at the office most days.
I like how heels lengthen the leg and accentuate the slope from the calf to the ankle. I also perceive heels as more professional and elegant footwear than most flat shoes, especially when one is wearing a dress or skirt.
I did not realize the emotional tie I had to wearing heels, and having always considered myself someone who eschews impractical footwear, the truth about my attachment to heels was an unwelcome surprise.
Cushioned Mat: The other big improvement I made was to purchase a mat. Thank you thank you to those who advised me to add a mat to my setup! Switching to minimalist shoes was good for my body’s alignment while standing, but the lack of cushion was noticeable after a couple of hours.
Standing on a mat in minimalist shoes is an ideal combination, as I cushion my body from our unforgiving office floors while not compromising my body’s vertical alignment. This has also eliminated any residual foot pain.
Standing Desk and Brevets
I wrote previously that I was curious how the standing desk would work for me as we headed into the more active days of spring. Since using the standing desk, I’ve completed a marathon in addition to a few 200K bike rides, one 300K, and our club’s 400K.
The 400K was this past weekend, and I have been standing the same amount I usually do without noticing any fatigue or pain. I mean, I have fatigue, but it is of the yawning kind.
My body feels settled and happy about standing. I’m still moving about more at the office than during my predominantly sitting days, stretching when I can, and taking breaks in a chair every so often.
I did not purchase a setup that allows me to switch easily from standing to sitting at my computer, and I’m okay with that. If I want to sit, I take a time out and do work that does not require my computer. It’s actually refreshing because I probably spend too much time staring at my screen and checking my email every five seconds.
Standing as I work is still a largely sedentary activity, but I find that I enjoy my day more and I don’t get as tired as I used to in the afternoons hours. Generally, time passes better for me when I stand and shift around on my feet while working.
One of my colleagues likes to tell me, “All you do is stand around all day.” Yes, I’m standing around and, with the exception of the heels-vanity quandary, I prefer it.
As always, standing desk (and footwear) insights welcome!