Standing for Progress

Progress toward my new freelance career is going slowly, to say the least. I have managed to get one important piece installed, though, and that’s the sit-stand addition to my desk.

If you sit for a living like most writers, being able to stand up while you work is invaluable. Sitting wasn’t as much of a problem in days gone by. But as I get older, my parts just don’t work like they used to. Getting up from sitting to standing can be a bit of a challenge some days. Especially those days that Uncle Arthur comes to visit.

An internet search for “standing desk” yielded more than 2M hits. The prices range from around USD 30 to more than USD 1000, depending on your wants and needs. Because I already have a desk that I’m happy with, I chose a model that sits on my existing desktop. Another feature I required was that it had to be electric because my arthritic shoulders don’t lend themselves to lifting like they used to. In the beginning, what I found most were tabletops with built-in motors to lift the entire desk. Not exactly what I was looking for.

Early desktop versions of standing desks used mostly pneumatic lift devices that required me to hold a lever while lifting the entire assembly. I had a hard time raising them with nothing on top. I could only imagine how much fun it would be to wrestle the desk into a standing position with a couple of monitors and a keyboard sitting on them. Besides, they didn’t seem as stable as the full desk, so I kept looking. Er, no thanks.

Even the electric versions that occupied the desktop felt a bit on the flimsy side. I waited longer and tested the latest batch of products that came through the doors of the local big-box office supply stores. Until recently, I was a bit disappointed with the choices available.

When I finally had the money, I chose the Varidesk ProPlus™ Electric desk. Why this desk? I looked for sit-stand desks at the local office supply stores for a couple of years to no avail. I got a good deal on a moderately-priced desk that should fit my needs for a while. I do still need to make an adjustment, but that will come in time.

Being comfortable while we work is essential as we get older. I know that the more I sit, the more I hurt, so the object is not to park my butt as much. I have managed to keep carpel-tunnel syndrome, the bane of typists everywhere, at bay for decades by being proactive when my wrists act up. I went out to the local pharmacy and bought wrist stabilizers to use when I sleep at night. It made a difference in my hands. I also make sure that my arms and wrists are in neutral positions when I type.

Staying healthy in a career that keeps one’s body mostly still can be a challenge. Having the option to sit or stand while I work is invaluable in more ways than I can count. The next step would be a “walking desk.” I’m not sure I’m quite that ambitious, though.

Keeping my body in as many neutral positions as possible while I work is one way to stave off aches and pains. Another way is to take frequent breaks to go out and take a walk, practice a bit of yoga, or get in a short workout.

How about you? What methods do you use to stay healthy and productive?

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