Friday, April 23, 2010

It takes courage to stand up at work

Enter the standing desk. In the last few years, many office supply companies have begun to sell desks that are tall enough to put your computer screen at eye level while you’re standing. But I was wary of furniture that required me to stand all the time; these desks seemed to enforce a rigidity that’s unseemly outside of a Navy brig.

SHOOT: Great idea. So is sitting on those air-inflated exercise balls.
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It takes courage to stand up at work. I’m not talking about sticking your neck out, speaking truth to power or anything else so dramatic. I mean it literally; it is hard to find a way to work standing up at your desk instead of sitting down.

I know this because I’ve spent several weeks trying to find the perfect way to work at my computer without a chair. The search was not quixotic; standing up is in vogue. Medical researchers have found that people who stand at work tend to be much healthier than those who sit, and there’s a large online subculture of stand-up fanatics who swear that getting rid of your chair will change your life.

But I wasn’t just looking for better health; standing, I hoped, would also improve how I work.

“For me, the thing I kept hearing my body say was much more simple: ‘Move! Change positions once in a while!’ ” he wrote in an e-mail message. “The back pain had me listening.”

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