Stood up

A month or so ago I wrote about getting a mat to stand on at my new desk and promised a follow-up on how I’m getting on standing for long periods of time on it. This is that, plus a bit about just standing up at a desk in general and how I’m finding it.

Since getting the mat I’ve done quite a lot of full days of standing at the desk. By that I mean I’ve been at the desk for long consecutive periods, across 8 hours or more. What’s interesting is the patterns of how long I stand before leaving the desk for a break are quite different to my patterns of sitting before having those same breaks.

I take breaks for roughly the same amount of cumulative time across the day, but when stood they’re shorter and more frequent, compared to the longer but less often when sat. There’s something about standing completely still, at least with my legs, that my body is just not comfortable with. I tend to slowly move my legs, mostly at the knees, fairly constantly, to keep the joints moving. I also step from foot-to-foot as well, especially later in the day. That has the added side effect of walking the mat across the floor slowly over time. Every now and again I need to step off and move the mat back towards the desk, which really freaked me out to start with.

I’ve had a viral infection recently which has affected how I breathe, resulting in just taking in less oxygen in general compared to the healthy me. That’s had a significant effect on how long I can stand before feeling tired, unsurprisingly. In the last two weeks I’ve sat a lot more than I’ve stood, because I often can’t stand for more than half an hour without feeling light headed (in fact I’m getting light headed now, and I’ve been stood up for the duration of writing this!).

That’s had an effect on my back. Sitting for long periods in the chair I have at home now gives me dull lower back pain after a few hours, because of my poor posture. I don’t get that while sitting at my desk at work, though, where the chair is much better for my posture.

That’s about it really. Standing for full days of work is totally fine, which surprises me as someone who’s sat down at the computer for the last 20 years, and the mat really does stop my feet getting fatigued over the day. By the close of play there’s usually some tiredness down there, but it’s minimal now.

So if you have a standing desk, I can recommend Varidesk’s The Mat. It works for me at least.