Thursday, May 17, 2012

experiences with a stand up desk, or a reasonable facsimile

Standing Desk
I was doing some mundane household task the other day, stomping, bending over, repeating the process. Suddenly this acute pain at the base of my spine told me that I shouldn't have done that. Multidays with vitamin I (ibuprofen) have vastly improved the situation. Fortunately, walking only makes things better so my hiking days are not a problem. What does not help is sitting at the computer all day.

I've sometimes thought about the health aspects of a desk where I stood, rather than sat, but never acted on it. Once more those thoughts came up. This time I decided I had materials on hand that would allow me to do a test. Boxes of books got the monitor and keyboard up to standing height, and a multi level in-out basket got the mouse up. I was good to go. 

After a couple of days of use, my back was normal enough to resume sitting, and I had learned a couple of things about using a standing desk.

1. You need more than just the monitor, keyboard, etc. raised. I found that I also required a working surface at that height. So in a real installation, the footprint would have to include a large hard surface suitable for writing, placing books, documents, a light and so on.

2. It's hard to stand and think. I know that now you are wondering how I manage to walk about without getting run over, but that is more of an instinctual awareness. The problem is contemplative thought. I find that requires sitting or repetitive motion. The relaxation that lets thoughts flow freely isn't compatible with standing in one place. If you Google for "stand and meditate" the first hit says "you cannot stand and meditate..."