For over 11 years now, I have been sitting at an office desk and never thought about the standing desk concept. In my mind, I thought I made up for not standing at work by running 4 miles a day, did other strength training workouts, or got up and walked around when my Fitbit buzzed at me. I gave running a break when I became pregnant with our son, never got back into it and would just try working out randomly when I could. It wasn’t until my office suggested a standing desk did I realize the benefits of standing and not sitting.
Take it Slow!
First of all, if you are used to sitting on your bum, don’t think you can automatically start standing all day. I was pretty pumped for my standing desk to arrive and felt invigorated to stand all day. I stood from about 8am until 2:30pm when I started feeling fatigued, so I sat down the rest of the day. That night, I could barely stand in front of the stove to make a meal and when nighttime rolled around, my legs were aching so bad I couldn’t fall asleep. My back also hurt and I had never felt so much aching pain in a long time! It was a truly humbling experience to think that I was in shape, but not enough to stand all day. Working my way up by standing a little bit every hour and resting, would have been the smarter way to go.
Standing Increases Blood Flow and Circulation
Every office has at least one person who is always freezing; that was me. It was not uncommon to see me bundled up with my winter jacket on as well as a space heater rolling (shhh, don’t tell the facilities manager). I would even drink hot water at my desk! However, I noticed when I’m standing, I’m able to hang my jacket up like a normal person, I am not drinking as much hot water (office AC is a killer man) and I have not turned my space heater on yet (the facilities manager approves of this message). Being warmer all day is a firm indicator I have increased blood flow and circulation and I assume a doctor would say that’s a good thing.
More Energy and Focus
After I got over the initial honeymoon of having a standing desk, I realized my enthusiasm was pouring into my work. My boss even commented, “I’m amazed at how much work you are cranking out…I have no idea how you get this all done.” I am not sure if it’s because I’ve been in my new job over a year now, and I’m more familiar with what I’m doing but I would like to attribute it to standing strengthens a person’s focus. This makes me think back to my organic chemistry lab days where the instructor never allowed us to sit or perch on a stool unless we had a physical need for it. He said we were more aware of our surroundings, could add the right elements at the right time and quicker to react if an experiment was going south. We didn’t blow up the place, so I am assuming he made that standing rule from previous experiments gone wrong.
Take Care of Your Feet
Our office has an extremely professional business attire code. Men are in dress shirts and ties, women in suits and dresses. The number of cute shoes and heels I get to see every day is like watching a fashion show. However, I tried not to jump on the pointy-toed, pencil stemmed shoe train. Standing with inappropriate heels is unforgiving. Some women like the extra lift it gives their calves, but in the end, they are really damaging the circulation in their feet and losing their arch. I’ve tried to stick with flatter shoes that completely look odd with my outfit. I may have to bump it up to some multi-colorful sketchers that offer more support and go for the punk Gen-Y business look but at least I will be able to run away from a zombie attack at any moment.
What’s your sitting vs. standing stories?