Perks of a Standing Desk
"You know, Hemingway wrote standing up," said a man at a coffee shop one afternoon, as I stood at a tall bar writing an essay on the language of politics and sexism. I smiled, because that is what women do when men say things. Smile, nod, mentally note that his shirt is only half-tucked in, pretend that what he said was deeply profound. “Well, maybe I’m the next Hemingway,” I say back.
Except, I’m definitely not the next Hemingway, and I’m not sure I’d want to be. According to the Huff Post, Ernest Hemingway was a drunk, a KGB spy under FBI surveillance, a huge fan of bull-fighting, and possibly suicidal-though the jury is still out on whether he shot himself on purpose. Hemingway may not be the healthiest person to emulate, but damn could that man write some profound shit.
Why was I standing as I crafted my essay? Ever since my parents plopped me in the brown-and-grey public institution known as “school,” I’ve been bad at sitting. This was less important in elementary school, when we were given adequate time to run around outside like crazy people, playing tag on the jungle gym and trying to keep away from the boys, because cooties.
There are two primary reasons standing desks are useful:
1. Sitting is Bad for People of All Ages
Standing desks allow you to not sit, which has been shown, time and again, to be counter-productive to health. Ample research shows that kids focus better when they aren't expected to sit still. Common sense tells us that humans were not built to be static creatures; our origins are deeply rooted in a hunter-gather culture, in which sitting still simply wasn't an option. The Mayo Clinic recognizes that prolonged periods of sitting in working adults leads to negative health consequences including: increased risk of cardiovascular disease, increased risk of cancer, brain fog, reduced concentration and productivity, muscle imbalances, and the list goes on. Our default mode is sit, and it's not doing us any favors.
2. Standing Desks Have an Incredibly High ROI
You may have heard that sitting is the new smoking, due to the aforementioned health concerns. Standing desks, while not a panacea, are not a difficult switch. There are hundreds of options to choose from, in all sorts of price ranges. I found my standing desk on Amazon for the cool price of $100, which is less than most people spend on a pair of shoes or a fancy dinner. If you're still not convinced, consider this: since buying that desk, I’ve used it every single working day of my life. If I’ve worked 500 days since I bought the desk, the cost to stand is only 5 cents a day. Wow! How fucking cheap.
My favorite thing about my standing desk is that it allows me to stand up straight while doing my work instead of slouching over my computer, preserving my posture and decreasing the likelihood of becoming a hunchback.
“Wow, standing desks seem really great,” you may be thinking to yourself.
Yes, they do sound great, and they are great. They are not, however, entirely without fault. Your feet might hurt if you stand all day. Heels are exponentially more uncomfortable and unsuitable for work. Someone in your office will be a complete ass-wipe and make fun of you. In my case, this someone is a man named Dave, who has a beer belly, a comb-over, and an unnatural attachment to Taco Bell.
“Oh, you’re one of those people,” Dave says.
“One of what people??” I counter, completely confused and a bit annoyed that Dave is spilling donut crumbs on my office floor.
“One of those annoying fitness people who stands all day,” he retorts, popping the last of his cinnamon sugar donut into his mouth and licking each of his fingers in turn. Nasty.
Dave can sit all day, because he’s always slightly (or entirely) hungover. He can sit all day because he’s ambivalent. Dave, has peaked.
You, dear reader, have not yet peaked. You don’t believe in peaking, because you are going to continue to be a wonderful, beautiful, bad-ass until the day you die. Dave is a goddamn asshole. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be a troubled artist (like Hemingway) with too many addictions and an unnatural desire to feel pain than a guy who finds it annoying to stand. Get the hell out of here, Dave.
[Side Note: Dave is an actual person, who I did actually work with, and he’s not really an ass, except he is.]
Tweet me: @sarahmac_attack and tell me the pros and cons of standing.