Standing Desk: Week 1

This article is part 2 of 7 in the series Standing Desk

It’s been about a week now since I started using a makeshift Standing Desk. What have I learned? Short answer: pain.

I’ve always had trouble standing for a long time without developing back pain, except for a brief few years where I was in really good physical shape. That pain at the base of my back, just about the sacrum has made a violent return. But I expected that.

The soles of my feet also hurt towards the end of the day, most notably towards my heels. I expected that, too.

There are two pain-related things I didn’t expect, though:

  1. I had a few days of slight aching around my solar plexus, very much like sore muscles. Apparently standing up straight all day exercises muscles in places where I didn’t even think I had places.
  2. The pain isn’t all that bad. Yes, the first two or three days were agony to the point where my ability to focus on anything other than my aches was difficult. But in the meantime, things have got much, much better already.

In the evening, I still really, really appreciate being able to flop down on the couch and not move. But during the day, I’m ok.

I’m also compensating for some of the pain by deliberately stretching those aching muscles, or leaning on my elbows for a bit to take some weight off my back.

I also concentrate more strongly on tensing my pelvic floor muscles to keep the base of my back straighter, and keeping my shoulders back. I know that helps keep the back straighter, which helps distributing my weight such that it pushes down on the spine rather than bending it out of shape. And I know that that, in turn, will prevent some of the pain, whilst strengthening exactly those muscles that’ll make keeping my spine straight easier. Win-win, right?

It’s just that without the direct feedback from the pain, I probably wouldn’t do it.

So as much as the last week hasn’t been all pleasant, I’m seeing benefits already. They don’t have much to do with the research I was talking about in my last post, but that’s hardly the point.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that during the day, I find I have more energy. Some of my muscle groups, especially in my lower legs, may feel more tired than I’m used to — but at the same time, I want to move around more on my feet. Strange, but I’m not going to question it — I like wanting to move around.

Unfortunately that’s offset by being more physically tired towards the end of the day — but I guess that’s just a matter of keeping it up, and it’ll go away.

Despite the generally positive things I’ve written above, I do still sit down for some stretches of work, and I don’t think the experiment has succeeded yet. I want to reach a point where I can work standing up the whole day without noticeable aches before I’ll conclude that.