This weekend I added years to my life


For months I have fretted over the stiff back; elevated scapulas; weak core; inhibited circulation; lackluster spinal muscles; and tight hamstring, flexor and calf muscles that have resulted from too much sitting. Let’s face it. Our technology-based office and entertainment lives have turned many of us into a round-shouldered, doughy-middled race of electronic achievers. We may be changing the world, but our evolutionary trajectory is being changed by office and lounge furniture that has not kept up with our knowledge of best body practices.

The dilemma? I could find no way to diminish the hours I worked at my computer. I work out daily. Still, a minimum of eight hours a day sitting versus one to two hours in motion…doesn’t take Archimedes to predict the result.

A few weeks ago, I learned about the Katzmarzyk-Lee study which asserts that “life expectancy in the United States would be two years higher if adults reduced their sitting time to less than three hours a day.” Hip news outlets starting touting sitting as the new smoking. Not so as statistics show that on average women smokers “lose about 11 years of life expectancy…men lose about 12.” Still, too much sitting is a life expectancy boggart, to say nothing of its menacing effects on life-long health.

So there I was, stuck between a paycheck and an expiration date. At last, I decided to stop thinking and start standing. I googled standing and standing/sitting desks. I was blown away by the prices and underwhelmed by the ticky-tacky of the models I could afford. So I decided to build my own. I researched standing desk ergonomics and sat down to draw.


Before setting about the build, I took one last online browse. My eyes alighted on a treadmill standing desk! What? Yes, a standing desk built to accommodate a treadmill. I even found a treadmill desk with a removable balance ball chair. My covetous heart flamed.

Image Image

Busily figuring how many meals would need to be forgone to have such a wondrous product, a friend softly stated, “Perhaps you should stand before you run.”

The sunrise glow of consumerism was dimmed. My friend was right. Shifting from a workday of sitting to a workday of standing would be a monumental feat. Best to try it out before investing the 401K.

I decided to retrofit my current desk. If I became a standing desk convert physically as well as a philosophical, I could settle on a permanent solution later. I collected building supplies from around the house as well as four shelf brackets from the hardware store and – three slight design modifications later – I had done it! Created a workstation that would give me back years of my life. It may be an eyesore to those concerned exclusively with visual aestetic. But to me, it is the most beautiful time travel device since Dr. Who stepped into the TARDIS.


As I write this, I have now been standing at my new desk for over two hours. Like any new workout routine, I foresee two to three weeks of muscle adjustment and endurance building. What a paltry price for additional healthy years of life.

If you try this at home:

-Build wisely and well to avoid crashing your computer…literally

-Measure yourself to get the best ergonomic configuration for your body

-Include a wedge or stool to allow for position variation…it is invaluable

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