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  1. 1

    Mitch Wagner

    Yes, subsequent to writing the blog post you linked to, I made the switch to a standing desk. Been at it a few hours so far. I’m liking it a lot. My legs feel a little rubbery when I walk around the house, though.

    Interestingly, a friend who’s wicked smart disputes the science of that survey about health problems sitting all day — he says the survey looks at people who sit more than two hours straight. If you get up to adjust the windowshades every hour, the study doesn’t cover you.

    You and Newt Barrett pushed me over the edge on this — thanks!

    How high do you have your display relative to your body? I have the top of my display about an inch below eye level. I may want to get a riser to lift it up higher. Or a phone book would probably do nicely.

  2. 2


    It’s encouraging to read that you already succeeded after a week.

    Do you use any “standing aids” like this http://ves.me/gre2lY ?

  3. 3


    You did not consult with any doctors or physical therapists? Your determination to make a change for the better is admirable, but you could very well be doing more harm than good.

    For example, running shoes are made for running and walking, not standing. I’m not a doctor myself, but I know that if your feet are not properly supported you will have back problems.

    Secondly, Marco’s photo of the soda cans supporting the keyboard tray made me cringe. All the exercise in the world does not matter if you do not eat healthily! Maintaining an appropriate caloric intake level for your body and lifestyle can do wonders for your health. And don’t forget your green vegetables.

    Anyone who sits in a chair all day at work should stand and stretch at regular intervals, perhaps every 2 hours. It gives your eyes some time to relax and focus at a different distance, it reduces strain on your spine, and it will help you refocus your mind.

  4. 5

    Gina Trapani

    > How high do you have your display relative to your body?

    I set the monitor so that when I look straight ahead, I’m looking at the top half of the screen. At first I felt like I was looking down, and my monitor’s built-in height adjuster didn’t go high enough, hence the riser.

  5. 6

    Gina Trapani

    > You did not consult with any doctors or physical therapists?

    I didn’t. My mother was a public school teacher for 30 years, which means she spent all day on her feet. Plenty of other types of jobs involve standing all day. I didn’t think it was something I had to talk to a doctor about. I stand, stretch, move and sit throughout the day now–the only change is I mostly stand now, instead of mostly sit.

  6. 7

    Robert Bigelow

    Heavier – and wider – that I’d like to be myself, I’m going to try that out, too. Interesting to note is the dispenser box of tissue. I’ve never set up a workstation *without* an even-present box of tissue at the ready. Good luck to you, Gina. I’m on my way to set up my own standing workstation.

  7. 8

    Gina Trapani

    > Interesting to note is the dispenser box of tissue.

    Yeah, I’m still getting over a cough/cold. Tissues are important. :)

  8. 9

    Gina Trapani

    > Do you use any “standing aids” like this http://ves.me/gre2lY ?

    No, I didn’t. I just sat down at a regular chair if I needed to, which is a nice benefit of working primarily on a laptop.

  9. 10


    Very interesting post, I’m inspired to at least test it out at home.

  10. 11


    I’ve been thinking of doing this since I first saw it on Lifehacker. I’m probably in a worse position than most as I sit in a comfy living room chair at the computer and end up leaning over to one side and having my legs curled up into me all day long. My side aches but its hard to get out of it. Sitting normally feels wrong now hehe.

    So I’ve decided now after reading about your efforts to work standing up. I’m still going to chill out on the computer sitting in my comfy chair but any work I do will be standing.

    Thinking about how to adjust things now. Thanks for the inspiration.

  11. 12

    Mitch Wagner

    I found another study about health problems from sitting, no mention of interruptions to sitting.

  12. 13

    Marco Arment

    Secondly, Marco’s photo of the soda cans supporting the keyboard tray made me cringe. All the exercise in the world does not matter if you do not eat healthily!

    To clarify, those cans are full, and were chosen because they were the perfect height and I knew nobody in the office would miss them.

    I rarely drink any calories, and I never drink soda. There are almost always two cups on my desk: one mug of black coffee, and one giant glass of water. Both zero calories. Cutting out sugary drinks is one of the easiest ways to reduce calorie intake.

  13. 14


    I worked for about 20 years standing in front of tables and I found that a small shelf or box (6-8 inches high) under the desk to rest your feet alternately on was a big help to relieve back stress. It should be solidly built so it can take weight and not easily shifted so you can lean into it at an angle. Just try a small wooden box placed just ahead of your feet and rest one foot and then the other as you go through the day.

    I heard that you got some good shoes which helps a lot. I always used a good quality pair of cross trainers, with good cushion and lateral support.
    I like your setup .

  14. 15


    I’d been thinking about doing this for a while, yet also thinking I was mad. Now I know I’m in good company!
    My plan, however, is to set the height a little lower than normal – as a kung fu fan, it should be a good way to integrate practising a stance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_stance) into everyday work.

  15. 16


    “My plan, however, is to set the height a little lower than normal – as a kung fu fan, it should be a good way to integrate practising a stance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_stance) into everyday work.”

    I laughed when I read this because I used to do the same thing (Karate student) when working at a portable table, but when I got tired from the strain I wound up in a Giraffe stance like this..

  16. 17

    Robert Colburn


    The post is inspiring. I’m not sure I’ve got the personality to be the only guy standing, but I love the idea.

  17. 18


    Gina, I’ve been considering a standing desk for a while, and your article inspired me to seek out some options. I first checked Ikea to see if they had something similar to the Jerker, and I found the Fredrik.


    I was curious if the specs on this desk were similar to yours.

  18. 19

    Gina Trapani

    @Kristian — Above petebocken said the Fredrik is the new Jerker. The specs do look similar.

    If you have 10x the $ to spend, Alex Payne says he has a Steelcase Airtouch at home. Now THAT looks like a beautiful sitdown/standup option.

  19. 20


    Thanks for confirming, Gina. I missed petebocken’s comment above. I think I’ll stick to the more affordable Fredrik. :)

  20. 21

    Very Siberian

    I have tried this but only in a half-assed way with a laptop cart raised up high. The one thing that gets me is my arms, i.e., having no arm rests from a chair and supporting them all day long. How have you found this to be? Thanks for posting this detailed account!

  21. 22

    Gina Trapani

    @Very: Yes, the laptop cart approach didn’t work for me because I didn’t have enough room on it to rest my arms. On the big desk, my elbows and forearms are resting on the table (which curves in a bit, part of the desk that I love) as I work.

  22. 23


    At Fry’s I found a laptop stand that can go high enough (also for using my bicycle and trainer), but I’m trying to move to standing. I usually walk around when I’m on calls or doing many things (I have a desk and a lab table and I move between them.

    What is helping me exercise while I do this is a weight vest and ankle weights and when I don’t have to touch type or do fine work, wrist weights. It started out subtle (except for the minor night leg cramps at first – but I should know better than to stretch at that time). A treadmill might be better, but I have to move and I can wear the weights for hours. And it is working – I haven’t lost weight, but I’m getting thinner. And over-the-calf socks don’t fit.

  23. 24

    Mitch Wagner

    According to the specs, the Frederik is 38″ high. My standing-desk setup is 45″ high. So no Frederik for me.

  24. 25


    thank you for this post! I’m using a Sit2Stand desk (electric height adjustable) and normally I sit most of the day and stand maybe 2-3 times for 20 minutes. I took the time to reevaluate my setup based on your suggestions and the main thing I was missing was the raised main monitor!
    I put my aluminium suitcase (cable box) under my screen to raise it to eye level and now it’s much more comfortable to stand since I can look straight ahead at the screen. I hope I won’t need cables anytime soon 😀

    I’ll try to stand all day starting tomorrow (the workday is almost over here in Australia)… Thanks again!

  25. 26



    Thanks for the post, I also have been thinking about this for some time and inspired to try. Keep up the good work and I look forward to the updates.


  26. 27


    Used to work at a standing desk. Really helped especially regarding working the phones. Miss it a lot.

    I remember we rigged some standing desks in our old office with Cardboard Boxes.

    I had some counter space that I turned into my standing workstation and it did ROCK!

    I have worked with Alexander Technique for years and the truth is that most wheeled desk chairs are not great for your posture. WHY?

    Because you cant get your feet underneath your center and use your legs.

    I trade back and forth as much as I can.

    But you have reminded me of getting a standing space happening again….

    ROCK ON!

  27. 28


    During Wednesday’s This Week in Google, I noticed Gina was standing up. Now I know why!

  28. 29


    Winston Churchill was also known to prefer standing.

  29. 30

    Marie-Therese Roux

    Thank you for showing how our tech lives can further our evolution without devolution. So who is going to design the easily adjustable desk for standing/treadmilling/stationary biking/sitting/cross-legged floorsitting/lying?

  30. 31


    Back in college, we had to conduct these overdrawn and boring chemical test – { just because we had to complete documentation }.

    In order that we do not fall asleep, which was completely human under the circumstances, we had these single leg stools designed.

    Result – comfortable and sturdy enough to sit; equally prone to slipping in case you fall asleep or slouch or over-stretch.

    Currently, it is the only stool available in college lab — we get ‘blessed’ from every following batch.

  31. 32


    Looks great, Gina. I’ve been standing for some months now. My desk was originally a door on two file cabinets; I raised it up using sturdy milk crates. That, combined with an adjustable height keyboard tray, made it the perfect height for me.

    Eventually in the future I may buy or build a fancier setup but for now it works fine.

    I’ll echo some of the advice I gave you via Twitter when you announced your standing desk:

    1. Barefoot is where it’s at. When I first started with the standing desk I wore shoes and they hurt my feet. Perhaps it was my shoes but when I went barefoot on a nice cushy mat it got rid of 90 percent of the pain.

    2. Remembering to move my legs frequently got rid of the rest of it. When I’m not slowly walking in place (which I’m doing while typing this, it’s not difficult) I still move my feet and calves like I’m trying to massage the mat I’m standing on.

    3. Keep your knees bent… always! Straight legs are a ticket to massive heel pain. Good standing posture involves bent knees. All you need is a slight bend to unlock the knees and evenly distribute your weight across the foot instead of driving it down into the heel.

    You’ll have to keep me posted on whether or not you end up with a treadputer! Come March I’m going to keep an eye on Craigslist for barely-used New Year’s resolution treadmills to hack into a treadputer.

  32. 33

    Yonathan Zarkovian

    What about watching movies on the computer screen?

  33. 34



    One of the other strengths with using a treadmill at a very low speed underneath your feet is that it keeps your feet constantly moving.

    A static standing position can be just as fatiguing as a static seated position. Maybe even more so because you can’t shift to recline or lean forward.

    If you’ve ever noticed that you can walk for two hours with a little muscle soreness, but you can’t stand in a single position for a half hour without a back ache, knee ache and shoulder tension, it’s because when you walk, you are constantly shifting your body weight from one leg to the other, and you are distributing the weight throughout the joint’s range of motion. This motion takes pressure off of one part of the cartilage at the joint, and helps to lubricate the cartilage with fresh synovial fluid.

    One thing you can do in the meantime is use your subwoofer as a foot stand, and alternate putting one foot on there to shift your weight. However, I would buy a used treadmill, and install it.


  34. 35


    Thank you for posting such a thorough review, Gina – nice to see “stand-ups” are getting back in the game after so many years.

  35. 36


    Great Post Gina! Quick question, How high is your current setup and what laptop stand are you using?

  36. 37


    I am a stander too. I can recommend Geekdesk although it is expensive it is a really nice. It is big and moves up and down with the press of a button.
    As far as shoes I find clogs are really comfortable to stand in all day. Ask chefs who stand all day too.

  37. 38


    I read that Hemingway used to write standing up – he’d put his portable onto of chest of drawers and that was his desk.

  38. 39


    Thanks for the post, Gina. I am ready to make the move to a standing desk, but I’m sad to hear that the Jerker model was discontinued. It really sounds like the ideal desk for this purpose (especially since the Fredrik model states that it can only hold up to a 19″ monitor). Hopefully a Jerker will turn up on Craigslist in my area soon.

    Out of curiosity, how high did you set the desktop surface?

  39. 40


    Just moved to a standing desk today. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. There are some things I still need to modify or adjust (I seriously underestimated the necessary surface area, for one). But I’ve already been in a better MOOD just from standing! So that’s a thing.

  40. 41


    I’ve been thinking about doing this, but I’m about to move soon and don’t want to do it twice. There’s another alternative I’m still considering though that I haven’t heard anyone mention. About ten years ago I remember listening to an interview on NPR with an author who wrote a book about sitting, and how the way we sit is bad. With a little help from my friend google, I found the book, “The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body, and Design” by Galen Cranz. And one of the things that still sticks in my mind from that interview (never read the book) was the author’s claim that in Denmark, school students use chairs that are higher and slightly angled, so the base of the spine isn’t bent all the time and most of a person’s weight is on their feet.

    Whether that is true or not I won’t pretend to know, but searching again brings up some very attractive, Danish school furniture, for example http://www.sis-as.dk/gb/html/learning/borde-stole/backup/skole_bord-stole_backup.html

    Something to think about, because a true standing desk isn’t for everyone.

  41. 42


    I had some back problems about a year ago and worked with an orthopedist, sports med. physician, and two physical therapists. They all recommended standing, but with the catch that I not exceed two hours a day. I asked, and they did not mean this for only me and my recovering back, but said the stress on knee and hip joints from standing all day negates any benefits, especially once problems in leg joints migrate to back problems – and they always do.

    I have several co-worked who stand all day, and it’s about 50/50 whether they will be totally bent over, propped on their elbows when I walk by their offices. basically, they’re not improving their posture, at all.

    I personally find that a flat or nearly flat-backed chair and concentration on my psoture makes it pretty easy to sit correctly, shoulders back, back straight, etc. Yoga helps a lot, too…

  42. 43


    Lwt me clarify – for my work, I sit in front of a computer, so while working I cannot mvoe around. yes, there are jobs, plenty of them, where people stand all day. most of those people are allowed to move around quite a bit, but a lot of them still develop joint problems from the unnatural load. We’re not designed to spend this much time standing up in one place. our spine cannot handle the stress, and our cartalage on our joints gets inflamed, etc.

  43. 44


    Hm, standing up to lose weight? That’s almost as good as sitting down to lose weight 😉

  44. 45

    Marie-Therese Roux

    The lowdown (literally) on my Yoga Geek Desk, freshly blogged at bit.ly/yogageekdesk.

  45. 46

    Mitch Wagner

    Gina, how much of your day would you say you spend standing, and how much sitting now, as compared with before?

  46. 47

    Gina Trapani

    @Keith: I set the table height to reach my elbows when I’m standing normally wearing sneakers. I didn’t measure in inches, but I’m 5 foot 7.

    @Mitch: I’d like to set up some sort of a sensor to actually measure how many hours I put in standing, but I’d estimate I’m standing or pacing 6-7 hours a day now, with frequent sitting breaks for breakfast, lunch, tea, restroom visits and the few in-person get-togethers I have. After dinner standing’s done–I take the laptop into the living room and curl up on the couch with it if I need to compute. Sometimes, midday, I grab my spiral notebook and sit at the dining room table to jot lists, article outlines, or pseudocode–that’s a nice break from both standing AND the screen.

    I’ve found that standing forces me to vary my work position and style more often, which is a good thing. In a chair I could sit for 3 hours straight not moving; I don’t do that standing.

  47. 48


    It look a while for me to convince my employer to set my desk up this way. Luckily we were moving locations, and the new cubes were capable of adding this feature. Many cubes are set up on tracks so it was just a matter of notching it up to the right level.

    Many co-workers were super interested, but feared they would miss their old sitting desks, but now many wish they made the switch.

    The biggest obstacle for many interested was how do you get the prefect height, so I wrote an article about it here:


    I’ve also built a stand up desk at home using metal legs from Ikea and an old coffee table top. It’s waiting for a new iMac to be purchased to sit on it.

    David Martinez

  48. 49

    Mitch Wagner

    @Gina – Elbow height is a good rule for the keyboard height, more or less. I find I’m comfortable with the center of my monitor at eye level, whereas when I’m sitting the top of the monitor is at eye level. I might fiddle with the monitor height.

    The difference between comfortable height for a standing desk and for a sitting desk is only 15 inches for me — others’ distance will vary. That surprised me; I would have thought it would be much more. But it shouldn’t have surprised me, it’s really just the length of my thighs from butt to knee, right?

    6-7 hours is probably about what I’m doing at this point, standing at desk, walking around, showering, etc. Probably more.

    Sitting now.

  49. 51


    Thanks for the nice article Gina!

    Like others on this post I used/adapted an IKEA desktop and blogged about how I did it here – fyi:

  50. 52


    I have been using my Kangaroo adjustable desktop for two days now. It’s easy to move both desktop and monitor up and down. That way I can work either sitting or standing. It cost about about $550–and was well worth it.

  51. 53


    Hey Gina, thnx for the RescueTime tip. I’m a stats junkie and this is the BEST TOOL EVER! 😀
    Don’t know if I will use a standing desk idea, I don’t like standing 😉

    Great site, love the show you do with Leo, keep it up.

  52. 54



    Thanks for this great post. I had upgraded my desk a while back with the IKEA motorized desk but I only used it one or two hours in the morning in standing position. You rightly pointed me to rethink my shoes for a standing task. I found some new well cushioned sports shoes in my drawer. And that was all I needed to use my desk in all-day standing mode. In between I sit down on my chair when required (mostly reading stuff on the iPad). So far I have managed a week and this seems to be my new modus operandi.

    Many thanks!


  53. 55


    If you ever get tired of standing or grab a 2nd Jerker desk from craigslist, it converts into a treadmill desk pretty easy. We created this one for our office : http://www.ikeahackers.net/2010/10/jerker-treadmill-desk.html and the guys at the corporate home office wanted one so we built a 2nd one using a Nordic track treadmill from sears.

  54. 56

    Glenn Olsen

    Add Winston Churchill to your list of Standees. See “The Last Lion”…

  55. 57


    I took the leap, no IKEA in Hawaii, so I created my own solution.
    Thanks Gina for sharing and nudging me over the edge.


    Loving it.



  56. 58


    I’ve used a square Ikea table on a single round pedestal for about 4 years now.

    It turns out that Ikea also sells folding bar-height chairs which are just the perfect height for this table, so I can switch between standing and sitting. The chairs also function as accessory desktop space when needed. Double duty!

    As it turns out, standing desks have a long history in banking and mercantile as well. I first read about the notion in Sterling Seagrave’s “Hermit of Peking” (a fascinating account, and if you wonder about where many of our modern myths of China orginate, read this book).

  57. 59


    For reasons similar to yours I recently ordered a treadmill desk. I am looking forward to using it and appreciate your caution about initial foot pain.

    Unfortunately, I doubt this lifestyle change alone will permanently keep off the weight.

    The best metabolic explanation I have seen for why we are all, on average, 25 lbs. heavier than we were 25 years ago is from an endocrinologist at UCSF named Robert Lustig.
    In his view, it’s all about increased sugar and especially high fructose corn syrup consumption.

    Here’s the link to “Sugar: the Bitter Truth”:


    Warning: It’s long and technical, but you’ll get the drift by watching the first 10 and last 5 minutes.

  58. 60


    I just convinced my boss to let me switch to a standing desk (I tried it out at home for 6 months first).

    I built mine using components from Ikea:

  59. 61


    I’m trying to set up a minimalist standing desk for the corner of my living room, but am having a lot of trouble finding a laptop stand similar to yours. If you’d recommend the one you use, would you list the make & model if you know it?

    (for this post, your contributions to TWiG, & most especially founding Lifehacker!)

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