Find a Standing Desk that Works for You

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With every second that passes, we are all dying—and not just in the poetic sense. Desk jobs can cause us some serious health complications due to all the, well, nothing we do while seated. Certainly, you can do some in-office exercises, but recent inquiries have shown that no matter how much exercise you incorporate into your lifestyle, you still may as well consider that comfy office chair a slow death by a thousand sits. What’s a white-collar worker to do, right? Answer: get a standing desk. Whether it’s your standard model or one with a treadmill, here are a few workspace solutions that might just save your life in the long run (or walk, as the case may be).

 

Photo: Mint Design


Standard standing desk

For those who want to avoid a completely passive workday, this is the ground floor. The ideal non-adjustable work surface will meet you at the hip, so that your keyboard and pelvis are almost level and your elbows bend at just over a 90-degree angle while typing. Your computer monitor, already bent up 20 degrees, should be high enough so that you can look straight ahead into it. The screen should also be positioned at between 20 and 28 inches away from your face, alleviating eye strain and further reducing the temptation to crane your neck. Sure, it doesn’t move up or down, but fewer moving parts means less muss and fuss.
 
 

Photo: Geek Desk


Adjustable desk
If you’re not entirely comfortable standing for the duration of a standard nine-to-five, consider an adjustable desk that allows you to choose when you sit and when you stand. Most models combine a standard desk with a toggle to move to whole work surface up or down by elongating its legs, and feature several height settings to fine-tune to the comfort of the user. If those prove too cumbersome—or you’re married to that antique Winston Churchill—you can also buy a converter like this one from Kangaroo.

 

Photo: Steelcase


Treadmill desk
Why sit if you can stand, and why stand if you can walk? You may want to have a quick chat with your office manager before bringing one of these into the workplace, but the idea is that while standing improves your posture, exercise is the real key to not letting your office gig affect your health. Walking and other light physical activities have also been linked to increased cognitive activity, more focus and reduced stress levels, so a treadmill desk may even boost your work performance (which is a great way to sell your boss on it). But don’t expect to incorporate a quick 10-K run into your work routine: most treadmill workstations, such as the Walkstation from Steelcase, have their max speeds capped at 2 mph.

 

Photo: IKEA Hacker

Hacked desk
If you’re on a budget, don’t shy away from going the DIY route, as you can build a really decent configuration all by yourself. Rather than spending upwards of $1,400 on an adjustable contraption, check out any one of the numerous websites dedicated to making your own health-conscious workstation. The general idea is to make sure your monitor is raised high enough so that your head and neck are in a neutral position while your arms do all the moving—after you have that down, you’re golden. If a few stacked books aren’t classy enough for you, bolt together a few IKEA shelving units on your existing desk for a catalogue-worthy piece of furniture.

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