I am still not done with looking back on the year 2013, a wonderful year with lots of changes. One of these changes was one in favour of our backs: we stood up. We are now using standing desks for several months and after experimenting in this way on our own bodies, we can say that it has been a great success!
We are spending many hours in front of the computer every day in our normal routine. Of course, we are at our home, so we can interrupt these sessions for going out to play with Apra, taking a walk or sitting down somewhere else. It is, however, not good for the back at all. We knew that, too, but what to do? We just kept on doing our regular yoga practice and tried to get up as often as possible. It was finally our backs though that told us we needed to change.
I have an old slip-disk problem. The pain appeared shortly after my sister’s fatal accident in 2006. I don’t know what caused the slip-disk, as I was not working at the computer at all in that time and also didn’t lift heavy or anything similar. While the initial pain faded after some time, it reappeared months or even years later which prompted me to have it examined by a doctor. To make it short, I have this slip-disk and sometimes it hurts. Especially after a long time of sitting.
When that pain started appearing daily and Ramona, too, began feeling tension in the neck and lower back, she decided to do some research and found out about the benefits of standing instead! Big, international companies like Google and Deutsche Bank offer their employees standing desks and after talking with friends, many of them confirmed that in their offices, too, they could choose to work in standing. Ramona did her research properly, watched videos of how sitting slowly kills our spine, read about right and wrong posture and even about walking desks with which you walk on a treadmill while working. Of course you would additionally have the benefit of losing weight while working. That was a step too far for us though and we decided to just try the standing version first.
Although I was initially skeptical that we could really stand throughout our working day, we rearranged our office and placed our desks on top of some small tables, brought our computers higher, in order to have the screens on eye-level. Additionally, we arranged for some space to rest one foot on when necessary.
The first day was hard. The first week was hard. I had to sit down again and again, had a hard time concentrating for longer periods and just wondered again and again how I should stand. We adjusted the height of the tables several times for our shoulders to be relaxed and Ramona even worked in sports shoes a few days. Slowly however, the soles of our feet, our ankles and leg muscles agreed to standing instead of sitting and we barely noticed how it became normal for us to stand.
It is now a wonderful way of working! When the legs get tired, we change position slightly, resting one of our feet a bit higher on the small tables under our desks. We don’t stand throughout the whole day though! Whenever we feel like it, we sit down. We have a high barstool to lean on to for a while in a half-standing position and we have our old chairs in the office as well, to relax when necessary. We can concentrate well and feel more mobile, as it doesn’t take the effort of getting up and out of the chair when we need to go somewhere. That aspect is something that especially Apra enjoys – she can pull us away from the computer at any time!
The most important thing however is that the pain is gone. There is no tension anymore in upper or lower back, we feel good even after working over longer periods and whenever we feel something like stiffness, we can just quickly do some standing yoga poses right at the desk. Standing up has proved to be a wonderful decision!
This would be my suggestion for a change that you could make in 2014! I am writing this to you after several months of trial and having found that it is really, really great. Should you want to do even more for your back, though, you can also join one of our new yoga retreats, the ‘Yoga for Back, Neck and Shoulders’-Retreat. Then you will even get to know the exercises you can do while working on your new standing desk! And if you are looking forward the walking desk for losing weight, you may enjoy your new ‘Yoga Retreat for Weight Loss’ as well – lose weight while doing yoga on your holiday and learn how to continue at home!
If you are thinking of changing to a standing desk and have any questions, just write to me in a comment below – I will be happy to answer and hear about your experience!