You may recall my previous posts on The Dangers of Too Much Sitting, where we discussed the many health issues that arise from the amount of sitting and sedentary lifestyle so common with today’s technology, and how to reverse the domino effects of sitting… and If Sitting Is the New Smoking, where we explored some of the great minds throughout history who swore by the standing desks, and looked into a few resources for standing desks. I received numerous comments, messages and personal emails with questions and concerns. Many people, of all ages, were almost embarrassed to admit that even though they exercise, they were experiencing the symptoms of sedentary living- because they work long hours in front of a computer. Some wrote of aesthetic concerns, unwilling to trade a desk they were perfectly happy with for an expensive eyesore… which I could fully appreciate. Many people already have a desk, are heavily invested in a desk they love, only do traditional or french or antique desks, are working at their kitchen table, don’t have the budget for new furniture, etc. All valid points of view…
I empathize with these people. My desk is the first piece of furniture I ever purchased… I am sentimentally attached to it, simply because this desk and I have been through most of my adult life together. So as I shopped through the standing desk options, they were either unattractive or expensive, OR both. Nothing I would proudly trade my desk for. The gorgeous standing desks that I found had proportions that made sense for a tall man. They didn’t accommodate computers.
Here is the other key thing to know about standing desks: Standing desks are not One Size Fits All.
The correct height of a standing desk is very personal to you- the right keyboard location places your elbows at a 90 degree bend. So, doing the math for my 5’2″ frame to order a standing desk, I can tell you right now, that desk would look like a dimensional mistake – like a desk built for a shetland pony. So what did I do? I did not order a custom desk. I stacked books to get my keyboard to the right height. And my desk looked like a dump, and it really didn’t work all that well – I needed a second stack for my mouse, and a third for my monitor. My desk looked like Grey Gardens.
The Silver Lining- You CAN Convert your Existing Desk to a Standing Desk
Then came the Vari Desk. I had seen the ads, which mostly photograph the product atop a glass desk. Visually, it did not appeal initially. But then one day I ripped out the ad from Entrepreneur magazine. And then I went to a meeting. In the office where the meeting took place was a contemporary wood desk, with…. a Varidesk. I actually did not even notice it at first. Then when I saw it out of the corner of my eye (it was sort of like my subconscious was forcing my eye over to the desk to make sure I saw it) I did a triple take and changed the conversation topic to the adjustable desk. The owner of the desk was very enthused about it and was happy to show me how easy it is to use. With the use of two discrete side handles, it effortlessly glides to YOUR correct standing height. VARIDESK allows for seated work or standing work and encourages both.
There’s even an app for that….
The Varidesk comes with a free app that will alert you, per your own customized timing settings, to sit or to stand, so you don’t spend your entire work day doing one or the other. A mix is the healthiest option. It even counts your standing calories burned.
Fact: the very best way to stimulate the brain is through movement. There are millions of tiny receptors on every joint and muscle in our body that are in constant communication with our brain. These receptors are stimulated through movement. Which includes standing to work -the body does not just simply stand on its own, these millions of receptors work hard to keep the body standing, believe it or not…
These desks are the perfect solution at a reasonable price for those who are happy with the desks they own. They come in two different sizes, to accommodate one monitor or two. I got the one monitor size. My productivity is so improved that it shocks me. Everything about my desk top is tidier. And the Varidesk blends in pretty darn well, it is NOT the eyesore I feared it might be, in fact, my husband did not even notice it. The Varidesk is not even all that noticeable unless you have a glass top desk like in the photo above. The price is right too. These desks range from $275-$350, and mats are sold as well (similar to the culinary mat) for extended standing. Better yet, the desks arrive fully assembled. These Varidesks are terrific- they get two thumbs up from me. If you are looking for a healthy workplace solution, try the Varidesk. www.Varidesk.com
The Backstory On These Desks…
The concept started in the spring of 2012, thanks to a coworker’s pinched sciatic nerve, says Jason McCann, president of Varidesk’s parent company Gemmy Industries, a holiday item and décor producer perhaps most famous for novelty items such as the Big Mouth Billy Bass. “He literally had a pain in the rear, so we started testing we were trying different kinds of chairs.” Nothing worked, and so the company ordered a standing desk. At $2,000, not only was it expensive, McCann says, but it was a whole additional pain in the ass to assemble.
On a whim, McCann, with the help of a design team, built a prototype for a desktop riser that was both affordable and intuitive to use. (This, by the way, was months before the Mayo Clinic declared a war on over-sitting: When an article came out in The Wall Street Journal announcing the news, McCann remembers thinking, “This is a sign from God.”)
After multiple iterations and improvements, that initial prototype morphed into a computer riser that rests on an existing desk. It comes fully assembled, and retails for $275 to $350 depending on the model. McCann says he’s sold tens of thousands of Varidesks (customers include over 200 of the Fortune 500.) Word of mouth remains the biggest driver of sales, although McCann admits that for early adopters, standing at work can make for a slightly a slightly awkward experience, at least initially. Hungry for more on these cool desks? See Entrepreneur Magazine article.
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