Monday, July 9, 2012

Standing Desk -- Building the Active(Standing) Runner Dad

Yes.  I am one of those guys.  I've jumped on to one of the huge tends of 2012, the return of the standing desk.  As trends go, it could have been worse, I am not sporting  Bieber haircut, wearing skinny jeans, or having "cute" Zooey Deschanel chats with Siri.  Meh.

But, regarding the standing desk, I have pretty much bone all in.  I didn't jump on the Standing Desk Band Wagon on a whim either.  I put a lot of thought into it before I made the switch.  While I was teaching in Japan I spent most of my day standing.  I estimate that I spent over half of my work day standing for three years, and I enjoyed it for the most part.  I really only sat when I did private lessons and even then we would still get up when practicing conversations.  In fact, one of my most difficult class was a private lesson right after lunch that I struggled to get through because of drowsiness. 

Once, I returned to America my days of desk toil and drudgery began.  My legs started to have all kind of stiffness, my back was sore all the time, and occasionally my sciatic nerve would fire off send white hot electrical pain shooting down my leg.  At first I began to wonder if my old dog was up in dog heaven with a voodoo doll getting revenge on me for all the times he got drilled by the invisible fence.  By that time, I had already began exercising, running, and reading tons of material on healthy living.  At some point, I began to come across articles about how harmful it was to sit for hours on end, which really resonated with me.  However, making a switch to a standing desk in my old office was impractical to say the least.  But rather than ignore the issues I was having, I began to stretch, use the foam roller, and experiment with different chairs and sitting positions. 

Fortunately, I changed offices several months ago, so when I again found articles about how bad sitting was on the body.  I really started to give the standing desk some serious consideration.  I came across several articles like this one from The Art of Manliness, which made me take direct action.  On June 15th I created my own standing desk out of a small filing cabinet and my old desk.  The change to the standing desk was a big topic of conversation around my office for a few days, and it has taken me some time to work things out logistically (like finding room to sit and eat lunch), but with exception of a few days following long runs, I have had few regrets out switching to the the standing desk.  But, the changes have been pretty dramatic.  In less than a month, my back and legs have begun to feel much stronger, the pain in both have subsided dramatically, the nerve in my leg no longer fires off randomly, and I feel much more energetic.   I don't stand the entire day.  I'll sit when I while I am on the phone or when someone come in for a long conversation, and I of course I sit at lunch.  So far the only real issues have come up following some long runs when my feet felt swollen even before going to work, but overall, I think that the standing desk was a great choice for my long term health.

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