For a long time, Chrissy has nagged me to live healthier. “Go for a run,” and “what fruit did you eat today?” were some of the many (legitimate) comments I heard from her. The problem is: (a) I’m lazy, (b) the Texas summer is too dang hot to run in, and (c) I really like unhealthy foods (Mt Dew, Pizza, Taco Bell, etc.)
This past week I realized there was something I could do for my health that wouldn’t require a lot of money, and would still allow me to live my somewhat lazy and gluttonous lifestyle: a standing desk.
Lots of studies have shown that sitting for many hours per day decreases your life span and increases your chance of dying from some heart disease. If that wasn’t enough motivation for me, I also have noticed that I have terrible posture sitting at the computer (I always lean in toward the screen), and my back has begun to hurt after marathon research sessions. Standing automatically removes my tendency to lean in, and therefore improves my back pain and posture in general.
There were some that mentioned standing for extended periods would not be enjoyable, but much of my work (like much of astronomy) isn’t a marathon session. I stand at my desk for 1-2 hours, getting a script or software package configured correctly, then unleash it on my massive dataset and relax for 3-4 hours. When I come back, I simply look at the reduced data. Standing for short bouts (instead of sitting continuously), will honestly not be that bad.
I got my basic plan for my standing desk from here. Although IKEA is quite a hike from me, the low price was attractive and it seemed to have minimal manual labor to get working.
I currently have a triple-monitor setup at home: 15″ Macbook Pro on a stand + 2×20″ monitors. Another reason I chose this desk plan is because it was easy to extend to the width I needed to hold all three components.
If you want to build the same desk setup I did, here’s what you’ll need:
So there’s all the materials I used. Adding everything up, we have a total of $38.73 + tax. It’s a bit more than the $22 stated in the original plan, but I aded a bit of cost myself requiring the extra table + special screws, nuts, washers. Still not bad considering the cost of a regular desk.
As I’ve only used it for a few hours, I can’t make any solid judgments on how I’ll like the standing desk. I appreciate all the extra desk space it gives me though, as I can store lots of stuff on the original desk surface and still have almost the same amount of desk space as before.
I would recommend getting a soft kitchen mat to stand on, as even on carpet I can feel the hard floor. This will probably not only save strain in your legs, but also the discomfort that may cause you to lose faith in the standing desk after a little while.
If there is a time when you just can’t stand anymore, the standing desk is almost a perfect height for a bar stool. We have an extra one that isn’t used at our breakfast bar, and it’s sitting off to the side in the office now for emergency support.
There will be an update in a few weeks after I’ve used the desk more regularly (and my legs have adjusted to standing for extended periods).