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Jocelyn Campbell
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Due to privacy issues and the accounting work I do, I ended up working in a very awkward way for my back. And my back is now yelling at me. Ugh.

So, as one part of improving my private office space and its ergonomics, I'm getting one of those sit-to-stand hand crank desks.

I think I'll quickly tire from standing at the computer for very long. I had tried my ironing board in the past as a temporary/test standing desk, but that was a cement basement floor that hurt my feet. It will be a better floor this time around.

I'm looking for tips. Has anyone used one of these sit-to-stand hand crank desks, and how did it go for you? Did you work up to longer standing periods?

 
Leslie Zingarelli
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I have stand up desks, both at work and at home (where I do more work - it's enough to make me bonkers) However, I learned that in order to counteract the problem of "just standing there", it is also imperative to place a low, stable footstool (play with the height to see what feels best) and alternate right/left foot thereon. This keeps the hips and low back from "freezing up" and simulates a VERY slow walking motion. I sustained a back injury, from a rear-end car accident. Physical therapy and acupuncture were part of early treatment. Yoga was added over time. I am fully active, cycling etc. with no problems, whatsoever, now. But I still LOVE to stand while working. I recommend it to anyone, injured or not! The gizmo at work sits on top of my desk, holds my computer, takes about a 15 inch? square footprint has two angled paper holders, right and left, and is electrically operated with a scissor-like mechanism. The one at home is a large corner desk, where the entire desk surface raises with a hydraulic mechanism. We are ALL sitting too much! - best luck!
 
James Koss
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I sit extensively; and that's to put it mildly. Also, I am rather inflexible, and have had a tight lower back for many years.

I searched around for solutions. Preferably, simple and cheap solutions. Not some uber expensive smart chair. And that's when I found out about using an exercise ball as a chair:



While that vid is for giggles, I have been using my ball for a few months now, and I am super satisfied!~ It is important to note that you want a ball fitting your size:
Which ball is right for me? (I'm 6' and the 75cm is a bit big for me, actually, but this is roughly correct.)

And you also want to know how to use it! When you want stability, simply tuck your shins under the ball, and then you can sit upright without wobbling. It did take me a couple of weeks to generally get used to this.

Oh, and I got mine off eBay, including a hand-pump.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Leslie and Assaf - great tips, thank you!! My back thanks you, too.
 
Aaron Yarbrough
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I have a standing desk at home. A good standing surface is really important. My office is carpeted and I use an anti-fatigue mat and usually wear footwear with arch support.

I was getting heel pain before getting the mat. It also takes a while to get acclimated to standing and working on a computer for long periods of time.
 
Bill Bradbury
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Hi Jocelyn,
Sorry to hear about your back, my geologist wife works sitting too much and is having back trouble as well. SI?

I built a standing height desk that wraps around 2 walls of our home office. It's really nice when you have a lot of stuff out and you can look at it without bending over so much. We use 2 padded bar stools for chairs. The bar stools are height adjustable to allow even more positions since I think that any static position will be problematic.

Best of luck with your back, I know that can be frustratingly debilitating.
 
James Koss
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Leslie and Assaf - great tips, thank you!! My back thanks you, too.


My pleasure. wiggles on his ball and bounces off...
 
Kate Muller
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It will take about 3 weeks of standing for your feet to get used to it. One of the things my orthopedist recommended that helped was changing the height of your shoes daily. I wear flats but I have 3 or 4 pairs for work that vary between 1/2" to and 1" in heel height. They all have good support and I don't wear the same pair for more than a couple of days. It helps when you have those really long days on your feet.

Leslie's suggestion for a step stool is a very good one. It helped relieve the stiffness in my knee when recovering from major knee surgery.

 
Burra Maluca
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I'm going to second the ball idea. I banished chairs from my son's room years ago as he spends so much time on his computer. A cheap exercise ball usually lasts him two years, and he's not exactly gentle with them.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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I have an awesome hand-crank sit-to-stand desk. Yes! And I am using a small wood box/crate to put my feet on to make both standing and sitting more comfortable. Though I still can't stand for very long with my back in the shape it's been. Though I think the moving and cranking to stand, even if I'm cranking to sit again after just a few minutes is still a good thing.

Today, I'm using that dang Windows warning that my machine will shut down for updates as a reminder to get away from my desk and move a bit. I guess that's one way of making the problem into a solution!
 
Dan Boone
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A few years back when I was spending too many hours at computer gaming, I put in a standing desk (no chair or stool of any kind) for my gaming computer. I find that a rubber anti-fatigue mat (as they sell in any office supply store for putting behind cash registers and such) is essential. Some practice and acclimation also helps; at first, I was cutting my gaming sessions short when my feet hurt, but after a few weeks I found that problem went away. I'm not gaming as much now for other reasons, but I can stand there for as long as I ever seem to want to now.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Well, my accounting work kind of exploded (uff), and my back got better, and now I've been sitting too much again. I've been lousy about getting used to the standing desk for a variety of (probably stupid) reasons.

A friend just sent me these tips, I'm not sure if the source, but I thought they were good to add to this thread.

Tip of the week:

Always be stretching. Small, subtle movement can do a lot to combat the negative health effects of sedentary work. While seated, place one foot on the floor and the other across our knee to stretch the muscle deep in your hip. While talking on the phone, stand up and stretch your foot tendons and calves using a rolled up yoga mat.

Alter positions. Don't use the same chair all day if you can do some work on a nearby sofa or even cross-legged on the floor.

Talk and walk: Make work calls in bunches so you can walk around the neighborhood while you chat.

Add mini workouts. 10 pushups here and 20 squats there provide benefits you won't get from an after-office trip to the gym. Hanging from a chin-up bar for just a minute every hour can also reverse some of the ill effects of sitting.

 
chad Christopher
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I can tripple down on the yoga ball. From experience. Standing, not as much personal experience. But, i would recommend not doing it barefooted initially, if you are not used to standing barefoot. The other benifits of standing, which you will find for yourself, your arms, shoulders wrists, and thumbs will love you too. Don't be alarmed or think something you're doing is wrong. Standing promotes a more natural pattern of arm and hand movements as well. You will feel good burns from this. Fortunately i no longer am subjected to sitting for long periods of time.

Except at the local pub. ; )
 
Julie Anderson
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I've been using a standing desk for three years now. Having a place to put your foot up works.

I have standard height desk counters around the rest of y cubicle. I move around and stand next to them while punching holes or making folders, etc. Our office printer is on the other side of the building. I walk and fetch each print job individually. I sit from time to time.

The shoe thing is very individual. I prefer to be barefoot. I wear as little shoe as possible. As long as I don't stand rooted in one place, I don't have problems with my feet.

When I'm working on a long project where I'll be focused for awhile and not moving much, I listen to music. Apparently this causes me to dance at my desk. This movement helps prevent any issues with my feet or my back.

I LOVE my desk.

Julie
 
James Koss
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It may not be strictly relevant to this topic, but I've recently gained a pair of rope sandals, and I love them. Balance and feeling is like being barefoot, just a bit padded.

 
allen lumley
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Jocelyn Campbell : Here is one more vote for using an exercise Ball as a chair, For years I have been using it at my computer desk and as my go to chair forWinter camping
where our car takes us to where our weather suits our clothes !

It is one of the very 1st things unpacked!

At 6'4-ish My ball is slightly oversize, check with a friendly Physical Therapist ! For the Good of the Craft ! Big AL
 
John Master
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not saying this is right but it works for me, I have a very "office-sales-home business" job that involves way more computer time than I would like to spend. I have a regular office chair but instead of sitting upright I sit laying back reclined as far as possible as much as possible to take as much of my weight off my spine as possible. Maybe the next office revolution will be the laying desk instead of the standing desk? The monitor can get bolted to the ceiling?
 
Julie Anderson
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They actually do have work stations now that can be positioned from standing to sitting to reclining. They are called zero gravity work stations.

Julie
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I think we all try to compensate that we sit too much, especially when we cannot do the right thing which would be to sit less!!!
My tips:

Gravity is essential for life, as we were born on earth from EVERY generation backward!
Thus, zero gravity wuld not be the solution, not the sustainable one.
They found out that astronautes have the same health issues as people that cannot stand up anymore for a long time (bed etc)
Solution:
Wake up and feel you "play with gravity" while doing so.
Every 20mns.

Not easy, I leave you for 30 seconds, as I have not applied what I know the last half hour!
"Do what I say, not what I (actually) do"...!!!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I applied my 1st tip and I am back after standing and feeling gravity and stretching a little.
2nd tip:
Stretching is usually bad. Well, not understood. It needs its full topic.
Never feel any, even little, pain when you stretch.
If it hurts, go beyond pain and move for repeating very little stretches, and you will go each time further without needing to reach any hurting stage.
In a nutshell, the anulo-spiral receptors send a message of contraction when they feel a strech. So you get the boomerang back.

3rd tip:
get yourself photographed or use a mirror when you can fix your posture.... and be ready for the bad surprise: what you see will surely be different from what you thought. If so, you need to re-educate the posture up to the point you will not have to think about it.

next....
Sitting contracts the powerful psoas muscle (whle books are written about this sole muscle!)
So when you get up, espacially fast, you strech it, and it might reacts by contracting powerfully, especially if you have been sitting a long time.
This can even cause a lumbago...
The psoas can be spasmed, espacially if you have been involved in experiences needing to protect your tummy. This is the foetus posture.
You can suspect you have this unnoticed chronic contraction if you like keeping your knees up when you lie down on your back.

next...
Notice that most sofas induce sitting with your knees higher than your hip. Appart from contracting the psoas more, in induces a lower back bad posture.

next:...
Stand in the posture that feel right for you, and feel yourself while sitting: do you modify your back posture? I think we should not. So I exercised in feeling this, so that I could KNOW the FEELING of the right sitting posture (well, this means that also you might have a look at your standing posture, but this exercise is a good start any way).

next....
Some chairs can be used in diagonal. I try to explain: I just sit with the foot of the chair between my legs. This helps to have my thighs inclined instead of flat.

next....
The ball is great because it is less static. BUT you can still sit badly on it! Again, have someone take a pic when you do not expect (or be fair and do not correct yourself when they say they are going to take it!), and ask yourself if you would send it for advertizing for the sitting ball without being ashame.....

next....
Be careful with the head when you sit. I hate having only a laptop, because I must bend my head. I try to lift it and look away as much as possible.
Then, the major risk is to throw the head ahead, which is terrible for cervicals. Any sight defect might also induce you to get your head closer to the screen. I had the idea that this problem caused by looking at screen might have been a great part of the cause of Paul bulging disc. For myself, I clearly notice a relationship between the time I spend on my computer and the pain in my neck. The big difficulty is to think about keeping the correct posture (I can do it but still do not having fixed as an autonomic pattern)
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Adrien started a similar thread with a sit-to-stand desk that he likes here.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:
next....
Sitting contracts the powerful psoas muscle (whle books are written about this sole muscle!)
So when you get up, espacially fast, you strech it, and it might reacts by contracting powerfully, especially if you have been sitting a long time.
This can even cause a lumbago...
The psoas can be spasmed, espacially if you have been involved in experiences needing to protect your tummy. This is the foetus posture.
You can suspect you have this unnoticed chronic contraction if you like keeping your knees up when you lie down on your back.

next...
Notice that most sofas induce sitting with your knees higher than your hip. Appart from contracting the psoas more, in induces a lower back bad posture.


This. This was a BIG part of my problem, Xisca, the psoas muscle! I spent months, with sometimes weekly appointments seeing chiropractors (hundreds of dollars! uff!) and they did not address the psoas and quads that were tilting my pelvis forward. I saw a phys med N.D. in Seattle on one of my trips to see clients and family and he identified the psoas and quad muscles tilting my pelvis forward. Now, when I stretch those, my pelvis stays "square" as I call it (from reading a webpage about stretches that "square" the pelvis). So. much. relief.

Going forward, I am still continuing my quest to have better ergonomics when working at the computer.

The standing desk is okay, I can stand a bit more now, though just standing still isn't that comfortable for me. I tried the ball and I don't like that either. Almost any office chair cuts off the circulation in my legs and my ankles swell uncomfortably.

Today, I saw a gadget that I'm wondering if it would help lift my knees, get me more active while sitting, and prevent the ankle swelling. Though it would certainly tighten the muscles that have been problematic for me, so I'd really have to be careful about making sure to stretch, I think. Though are they a gimmick? Would I use them? These are the burning questions.

Cycli on Kickstarter



This won't be available until December and the early bird price is almost sold out (as of today). In the mean time, there are other versions available within a couple days on Amazon:

DeskCycle on Amazon - similar to Cycli, though a little more than the early bird price

Folding Pedal Exerciser on Amazon - in my price range, though from the reviews, it seems this model is a bit of a 'you get what you pay for' option, i.e., not as many features



 
Jason Silberschneider
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"Sitting" is an umbrella word that covers the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sitting isn't the problem.

Try sitting cross-legged on a bespoke platform instead of a chair for any length of time. It hurts! It hurts because you're now using stabiliser muscles that never get used when your feet are comfortably on the floor, and your back is leaning against a comfortable rest. These are the muscles we need to develop and strengthen.

People in third world countries sit cross-legged for hour and hours while they knit, weave, repair, tinker, bake, sew, and assemble. They don't have back problems because sitting cross-legged is very healthy.

But in the beginning it hurts. It hurts a lot. You might not want to do it anymore after a while. So small steps. Maybe 5 minutes an hour for the first day, then go back to normal sitting. Do this for a week, then move up to 10 minutes an hour. Small steps. Enjoy the pain, as it's just your seldom used stabilisers finally getting their day in the sun.

One day after many small steps, you'll be able to sit cross-legged all day, and have a back of steel.
 
Julia Winter
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I'm a huge fan of a walking desk. We had one set up back in Wisconsin. You don't walk fast, one mph or less, but somehow it was more comfortable than just standing. You can combine a standing desk with a used treadmill from Craigslist.

Cross legged sitting is good. Another thing western folks don't do is squat. You can "sit" quite a long time squatting, and that's stretching you out, not tightening you up. Of course, then you'd need a particularly low desk. . .
 
Jason Silberschneider
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Nothing wrong with having a very low desk in the form of a "TV dinner tray" type of set up. Especially if you work from home like Jocelyn does, and are not required to use a specific desk supplied by an employer.

The next step up the "extreme" ladder from sitting cross-legged is the horse stance. NOW we're talking some serious strength and stamina building! Perhaps you're starting off by only 1 minute max every 10 minutes and very slowly building up from there. The good thing about the horse stance is that you don't need to change your desk height. When your thighs are parallel with the floor, you're pretty much at the same height as your chair. Note that I'm talking about the feet-double-shoulder-width-apart, toes at 45 degrees style of horse stance, not just a partial squat. Karate style.

The way I built up to any sort of stamina with the horse stance was to just push my chair back an inch or two, and hold the stance just above the chair cushion for as long as I could. Then when your strength or courage gives out (or when a co-worker who believes in aliens and reptilians walks in!) you can just drop down into the chair again.

But that one is only for those who want legs like steel cables.
 
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