Lifehacker recently came out with an article detailing how much sitting all day is hurting your body, and what you can do to counteract it. Of course, the number one tip is to not sit as much. And who wouldn’t heed their advice, when you’re losing up to seven years of productive life and becoming more susceptible to certain forms of cancer?
Along with this article, they detail the ways in which your body reacts to the physical action of sitting, how you can arbitrarily add more walking to your daily routine (take the stairs, park in the back of the parking lot, etc.), and how to measure your sit/stand ratio to determine where you stand (pun totally intended).
Check below the fold for the full infographic detailing “The Truth About Sitting Down”.
This comes in from reader John Stone, who created his own guide on how exactly to go about designing and building your own treadmill desk. John was good enough to write a blog post detailing parts needed, how to choose a treadmill, and build steps over at his blog, Node Floating.
Touted as a “simple standing treadmill desk”, it does seem to be very functional, and gets the job done at a low price point (just a few dollars, besides the obligatory treadmill itself). An added benefit is that it is portable–able to be easily removed at will from the treadmill unit when not needed. This design also has no need for specialized bottom-only treadmills, which is what a lot of full-size adjustable standing desk designs call for.
Maybe not the most astounding news you’ll ever hear today (especially if you’re an office worker yourself), but the British Psychological Society has come to the conclusion that office workers sit too much, and suffer negative psychological effects because of it.
Surveyors selected 1000 office workers and found that they spend an average of about six hours a day at their desk, working. Besides the well known negative physical effects of sitting too long, they found that mental well-being decreased as sitting increased (which of course could also be tied to the fact that they aren’t exercising).
Read more about these astounding revelations here.
Well, if you read the results they published it comes down to one thing: moderation. Too much time spent in any one particular place is bad for your body. The report goes on further to suggest that treadmill desks aren’t optimal either, as they decrease overall productivity and concentration. They conclude with the advice that you should sit while doing computer work, and take frequent breaks (every half hour or so), where you not only stand up but also walk around or do some sort of activity to “get the blood moving” (such as jumping jacks).
Eric Wilhelm, the founder of Instructables (a site that teaches you how to build just about anything you could dream up), has detailed his journey of building a standing treadmill desk for his home office. He actually details how to build three separate desks, running as little as $150 for everything (keyboard platform and desk attached to treadmill, keyboard platform attached to treadmill and desk attached to wall, and both keyboard platform and desk attached to wall).
The instructions are quite detailed and easy to follow (nine steps in all), so if you have the will, some tools, and a bit of free time you should be able to grab a few parts and create your own standing treadputer desk.
I saw my first standing desk + treadmill combo a few years ago in a friend’s office. He and his brother had both switched over to such a setup after reading about it online, and were now averaging six miles or so a day of slow-paced walking while on their computers. I thought it was pretty neat, although a bit impractical as far as space needed and costs incurred (they had developed their own solution instead of buying a pre-built model online).
Nowadays the cost has come down, and more and more people are giving treadputer setups (as they are commonly called) a chance. There are some things you should know before switching over though, especially if you are coming straight from a sitting desk setup:
Want an adjustable desk but can’t find one that has all of the different features that you’re looking for? Well, search no farther than ErgoSource, maker of custom-built ergonomic standing desks. This Minnesota-based company has been specializing in built-to-order desks since 1988, and the combination of options available ensures that everybody will be able to design their own perfect standing desk solution.
You don’t have to sink upwards of $1,000 just to get the experience of using a standing desk–there have been many creative alternatives to standing desks, both custom made and company produced.
Whether you stack Kleenex boxes on top of your existing desk, or pile phone books below it, sometimes going the cheap route can be the best (definitely the cheapest) way of trying before you buy (as long as you aren’t too worried about aesthetics, at least temporarily). I’ve already reviewed one great laptop stand, but there are plenty of alternatives out there in case that doesn’t work for you for whatever reason. There’s the Anderlyn desk, a small desk that sits on top of your current desk, and allows more desk real estate for the usage of desktop computers as well as laptops.
You could also opt for the adjustable wire bookshelves or drafting table featured in this Treehugger article, if that’s more your style. Both are sub-$100 purchases and can easily be re-purposed in the event that using s standing desk isn’t for you, or if you decide you like it and want to upgrade to some proper equipment.
Michael Richard authored a recent post over at Treehugger detailing the ways in which a standing desk had changed his life during the first month of (heavy) use. He briefly chronicles how standing up to ten hours every day alleviated his repetitive stress injury-prone arms and shoulders, and some of the difficulties he ran into along the way.
Note the amazing use of tissue boxes in the standing desk at the top of the page. 🙂