January 3, 2013

Stand and deliver

I hereby proclaim my decision to create a standing desk the best decision I've made since I decided to go back to grad school! As an added bonus, my desk is way cheaper than grad school tuition!

I did the quasi-famous $22 Ikea standing desk hack, and it truly cost $22: One black Lack side table ($7.99...although most other colors cost more), one red Viktor shelf ($5.99) and two 11-inch black Ekby Valter brackets ($4 each). We already had the four flat-head screws we needed to attach the brackets to the table legs. You can find more about the Standesk 2200, including a downloadable PDF with assembly instructions, here.

I've been using the desk for the better part of two days now, and I could not be happier. I positioned the cords for both my personal and work laptops where I can shift easily between the sitting and standing desks, since standing all day can present its own problems (I do not miss the early years of my working life where I regularly pulled 8-hour retail or restaurant shifts in which I was only able to sit down on my 30-minute meal break).

You can't tell from the photo above, but the rest of my desk is made of a varnished door set on top of two two-drawer file cabinets. I now have the printer stowed under the standing desk, and more room on the rest of my desk for an unbroken line of my nutrition books. I love nutrition, and I love books, so it makes me happy just to look at them.

Being able to sit/stand has made me feel a little more energetic, but this seems to be mostly mental energy, probably from the introduction of more variety in my day. The fact that it's easier to bop along to music when standing probably helps, too ;-)

I read with interest an article in The New York Times this morning ("Good and Bad, the Little Things Add Up in Fitness") talking about all the exercise-related research published in 2012, and how it managed to be simultaneously encouraging, discouraging and confusing. My takeaway is this: You don't need to exercise like an athlete in order to be fit enough to enjoy optimal health and have the strength, stamina and energy to life your life with ease. All it takes is 30 minutes of moderate exercise several days a week, combined with not being so sedentary. I've never had difficulty getting that level of exercise, but being chained to my desk was forcing me to be more sedentary than was good for me. But not anymore!