A year ago, by the end of a workday, my knee was in pain and my lower back ached. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I sat, like many of us do, at my desk all day.
I started noticing a pattern. The more time I spent on my feet, moving around and actually using my legs, the less my body hurt. This realization was great, but most of my work needed to be done at my computer.
So I tried taking regular walks on my breaks, or just across the office to visit with coworkers. This helped, but nothing was better than days that kept me on my feet most of the time. I considered a stand-up desk but thought it would be too expensive, and what if it didn’t work? A coworker aware of my plight handed me an article from Wired Magazine showing how it could be built for less than $25, and without permanently altering any of my current office furniture. I had to give it a try.
Learning to stand all day was not easy. Like a new workout routine, it uses a different set of muscles than you might be used to exercising. They get sore at first. Standing perfectly still is torturous for me, so I turn on music and dance as I type. Who doesn’t love an office dance party? Even if you’re not a dancer, just shifting your weight back and forth helps. I also stopped wearing heals to work. Supportive shoes are a must.
Today, I stand for 80 to 90 percent of my work day. My L-shaped desk creates the necessary balance between standing and sitting. I still sit to write notes, read, meet with people and, sometimes, just to think. My knee is much better, and I’m more inclined to be active after work. I still take short walks on my breaks and visit my coworkers on the other side of the building, but it’s no longer out of necessity.