2011.04.27 I can't stand it

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I’m not sure why I became obsessed with standing desks last week. My obsession is somewhat tempered now.

I must have recently seen a reference to the standing desk. I know I’ve read about them in the past and I know that I was uncomfortable sitting at my desk last week.

I’m using an old chair that can’t hold its pneumatic lift. Every so often the seat drops about five inches. All of a sudden I’m looking up at my computer monitor, feeling like a little kid at his daddy’s desk.

I rise and pull the handle, the seat comes back up, I sit again. Until the next time it slips.

There’s something else about the chair that isn’t quite right. I’m much more comfortable in it if I have my left leg folded under me so I’m sitting on my foot.

That’s OK until I get up and try to walk. I’m hoping customers don’t notice that I’m limping across the room. It’s OK until I visit a massage therapist who tells me that my hips aren’t even. I confess to sitting on my foot and she goes to work on me. I suppose the solution here is to switch legs. I must sit on my right foot more often.

I could switch to another chair, but there’s not much of a selection in our office. There’s one chair that everyone avoids but me. Somebody put too much weight on the front and it’s broken or bent inside. There’s the old black leather chair that a reporter left behind, but I discovered it’s not a working chair. Every time I sit in it, it makes me want to put my feet up on the desk, lean back with my arms behind my head and close my eyes. It’s nothing but a napping chair.

I already know that I shouldn’t sit in a chair all day. Supposedly it’s bad for your health. It uses less energy than chewing gum, some say. Even if you exercise before or after work, you’ve got to get up and out of your chair now and then. The physiology of inactivity suggests that your body starts to do bad things when it’s sedentary. At least use a rocking chair. And don’t even think about the lipoprotein lipase. You’ll just get depressed.

So I try to remember to get up and move from time to time and it always feels good. The printer is in the back room, so that helps. We have a few inefficiencies built into our system that leads to movement.

When I saw the article about a standing desk last week, I decided to take action. Friday morning I went to the back and got two boxes of envelopes to place under my computer monitor. I got two more boxes to place under my keyboard. Presto! A standing desk.

Within five minutes it felt as though my right sock was twisted so I took off my shoe and discovered the sock was fine. It must be the shoe itself that feels as though it has a slight ridge running across the heel. I never notice it when I’m walking. Or sitting at my desk.

I needed two more envelope boxes for my mouse since I had to bend down every time to use it, but I decided the slight bending of the knees was probably good exercise.

My feet were beginning to hurt.

Eventually Ali Ries came in to borrow my camera for some photos [Note: Did you notice? The page of photos of Fayette first graders making ice cream was taken by Ali. Check out this week’s pysanki egg photos. They’re hers again.]

I told her that I have a standing desk today and she asked the obvious question: Why?

That was the tough part. I said something about how you burn more calories standing than sitting.

“That’s why you’re doing it?” she asked.

Well, no, I’m not worried about calories. I probably said that it’s supposed to be better for you, which was a better answer than giving the more obvious answer: I’m just being a dork who wants to see what it’s like.

I was out of the office for a while taking a photo and then I was back at my standing desk. My feet hurt. I finally took off my shoes. Not much better and the floor was really cold. 

I returned the boxes and all I got out of the experience was a sore ankle from banging it against a drawer in the back office.

While standing, it didn’t seem as though I was accomplishing anything, like I couldn’t quite dig into a project and finish it. Once I was back on my butt it was no different, so I can’t fault the desk for that.

I thought I was finished with this episode, but that evening I still had the yearning. Sometime in the night I remembered that Ben left a piece of furniture in the basement. Was it a drafting table?

I checked in the morning. It wasn’t. It was a desk but not what I needed to satisfy my curiosity. I went to work Saturday morning carrying a pair of Crocs to wear.

I quickly built my standing desk again, put on the Crocs and within 20 minutes noticed that my back was aching.

Once again, I thought I was finished with this minor adventure, but now it’s Sunday and I’m still thinking about it. It feels good to walk around the office; why is it uncomfortable to stand in one place? Do I need one of those treadmill desks? No, I don’t.

I’ve read about some other people’s experiences with standing desks—from what a bunch of bunk to it’s really great—and I think I’ll have to try again, either until I like it or until I know that I don’t.

I need to look more carefully at the new heights (maybe two envelopes boxes isn’t quite right), I need comfortable shoes and maybe a floor mat. I need some sort of foot rest for variety. Don’t just stand there; move around a little. I need a bar stool type of chair for occasionally sitting down.

The idea isn’t to just stand in one place all day long; it’s to avoid sitting for eight hours.

And one user says the pain is temporary. After a few days you’ll adjust and think nothing of it.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016