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Fitness Accessories for the Stand Up Desk

By Kevin Meyer

Desk-old Last week's post on the health effects of standing, and how sitting long periods can more than offset the benefits of even regular vigorous exercise, generated a large number of public comments and even larger number of private comments.  Desk-new As regular readers know, I switched from a traditional executive seated desk to a stand up desk over a year ago after visiting some companies in Japan and have been (annoyingly?) pushing the concept ever since.  In addition to the physical benefits of standing it also forced me to organize and 5S my workspace, which has paid off in improved efficiency and peace of mind.

Several readers wrote to suggest "accessories" that Desk-treadmillwould take the stand up desk concept to a whole new level, so just for grins on this fine Saturday I thought I'd compile some of them for you.

First there's the most common accessory: the treadmill.  It's a bit difficult to put a motorized treadmill under a stand up desk like mine, but some of the flat manual treadmills would work.  However manual treadmills take quite a bit of work to get started, and coupled with wearing dressier  shoes Desk-stair-steppermost days, I doubt I'd use it very much. 

Another option would be one of those small stair-steppers, often seen in the cheesy late night TV ads, although this particular one got pretty high reviews on Amazon.  Although it looked simple enough, my concern was that it would prevent me from turning from side to side while working at the desk.Desk-elliptical

One reader was passionate about a mini-elliptical machine, which also got very high reviews on Amazon.  I'll admit - it's looks pretty cool.  But something about it makes me fear I'd have some serious sweat stains after just a few minutes.  A sweaty, Desk-balance-board smelly office isn't exactly the image I want to convey as a company president.

Then there were some rather, uh, unique accessories.  Take the balance board, which is basically a skateboard sitting on top of a single roller.    The surfers and snowboarders among us, and there are a lot of us here on the California coast, would probably love it.  But just like the similar "rug runner" contraption,Desk-rug-runner I bet our safety guys would have a cow.  I can just see the safety incident report - manager fell off balance board while working at desk.  That's sure to cause an OSHA audit!

Finally I did come across one accessory that just might work: the bosu.  My personal trainer enjoys killing me on this simple device, often while doing something crazy like holding weights and doing Desk-bozu single leg squats, but I have to agree that it has greatly improved my balance and core strength.  I'd have to raise my desk a few more inches in order for it to be at an ergonomically correct height, but that's easy enough. 

I can turn and twist, move if I want, but all the while the small and large core muscles are being exercised to create balance.  I often find myself standing and balancing on top of my small 6" foot rest anyway.  It's not inherently trying to throw you off like the balance board or rug runner, so the safety guys should be a bit happier.

So that's the plan.  I know another guy in the office is set on a treadmill, and we'll see what the other stand up desk converts will do, if anything.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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6 Responses to "Fitness Accessories for the Stand Up Desk"

  • Jamie Flinchbaugh
    31 January 2010 - 5:54 am

    Thanks Kevin. I have a standup desk at the office but I’m never at the office. I do work from my home office, and I think it’s time I set that up properly. I’m glad you’ve stayed on top of this topic on your blog.

  • Steve Bordley
    31 January 2010 - 11:05 am

    Really not that hard to get started if you already have a treadmill. SImply add a TrekDesk and it comes with all the essential accessories to keep you productive through the day.

  • Emmer
    1 February 2010 - 4:56 am

    Wait a minute, are those wine bottles on your stand-up desk? Those are the type of accessory that would help me improve my productivity, not to mention my balance!

  • mike
    27 July 2010 - 10:56 am

    CNN just had a segment on the health hazards of sitting yesterday. Makes alot of sense. Humans were not designed to sit around!! Stand up everyone!

  • Kathy Sharkey
    4 August 2010 - 7:29 pm

    Geek Culture did a review on a portable unit that sits on your desk. I read that while you dont want to sit all day, you dont want to stand all day either. I think it is like most things…sitting is OK in moderation.

  • B portables
    5 March 2011 - 8:40 pm

    I agree that we have to change 8 or more hour sitting to something else, if we want to keep our back and other organs healthy.

    I personally like replacing chairs with the fitness ball while standing position is still rough on my back.

    I think that any workout while working won’t keep you focus on work… it is much better to exercise every 30 minutes or so.