Stand up desk and other ergonomics hacks

I bought a stand up desk a half year ago for ergonomics. I was fed up with sitting (for many of the reasons that Mark Sisson recently wrote about) so I hired a handyman (through the online classifieds) to build me a standup workstation. It was pretty expensive ($450), but it’s top quality and I plan to use it extensively for many years to come. It’s gigantic: 3′ deep and 5′ wide, giving me plenty of room to do both computer work and paperwork. It’s height adjustable within a few inches for fine tuning (via a screw mechanism between the legs and the tabletop).

I find that standing is nice but as Mark pointed out, static standing has its drawbacks. But since you’re not locked in a chair, it’s easy to move around or stretch once in a while—I like to drop into a grok squat once in a while. Foot soreness can be extreme at the beginning if you’re unaccustomed to standing for long periods. But your feet will adapt in a week or two, and will become even better adapted over longer periods. I use an anti-fatigue mat, the kind that cashiers and other workers sometimes use. It makes the transition much easier and is really nice to stand on. Good posture is really important to avoid back soreness—just stand as tall as you can (like you do when you’re getting your height measured). It also helps to have a tall stool to sit down once in a while so you’re not always in one static position.

Stand up workstation

My workstation also features dual monitors (24″ and 19″), which is a big productivity booster. I keep them below eye level and angle them upwards to reduce eyestrain—when you look down, your eyelids close more and your eyes don’t get as dry.

I also use the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 which I can’t recommend highly enough. The split keyboard keeps your wrists in natural alignment and the front is raised, creating a slight negative angle which also does wonders for the wrists. I can’t stand regular keyboards anymore, it feels like typing handcuffed. I can type much faster and much more comfortably on my ergonomic keyboard.

Rather than using wussy computer speakers, I hooked up my 500W 5.1 surround sound system. I can only send it a stereo signal, but it’s still awesome.

I recommend a standing workstation if you put in a lot of time at your desk. Otherwise, you might want to try some of the cheap alternatives that Mark suggests.

About Autor

I’m an undergrad student ultimately aiming for an economics PhD. In a nutshell, I’m an atheist, market anarchist, and paleo health enthusiast. In other words, I reject God, Government, and Grain.
This entry was posted in Health, Lifehacks. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Stand up desk and other ergonomics hacks

  1. Bryan says:

    I saw your post on Marks blog and agree with you. As Mark writes frequently, our primal activity posture was upright, but also mobile. If your work or hobby requires you to be static at a work station, then standing is preferred to sitting. However, a prolonged static posture may present other problems. Your suggestion to vary the position is a common sense approach to prevent potential problems with a static standing posture.

    Also, cool to hear about your keyboard. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are a headache to treat as a physical therapist. While the wrist is only one link in the carpal tunnel chain it is arguably the weakest one. It's good to hear that you have gotten so much benefit from it. More corporations really need to explore providing these types of equipment. Prevention is usually a lot easier than chasing a solution or cure!!

  2. Dan says:

    Marks Daily Apple contacted us regarding standing desk about 6 months ago. They loved the idea of an adjustable height desk unit that allowed you to keep your existing desk and still get all the benefits of a sit to stand desk. As part of their primal challenge, our product was one of the prizes. The Kangaroo desk not only allow you to stand when you want to but they also move across your desk to give you the flexibility of standing anywhere you want around your desk. The "anti-static" solution for working at a desk all day.

  3. Your handy man did a great job! I like the look of it alot. The anti fatigue mat is a good idea and something a lot of people (like me) over look. It would definitely make standing for longer periods of time much more enjoyable. Do you ever miss sitting down? I think a good alternative for people who get the fixed height type like yours and want to sit would be a taller drafting chair with a footring. That way you can rest your back and legs when fatigue sets in. A company I work for sells adjustable stand up desks and we are lucky enough to use them everyday. I probably stand 3-4 hours total a day. I am going to look into fatigue mats because we are not using them. Thanks for the great post!

  4. Tiffiny says:

    I agree with Phillip. While full-time standing clearly offering the most benefits, it is a big leap. A combo desk would be best for most people. I use a Standing Fit unit. Works great. Either way the word needs to be spread.
    Thanks for the post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>