By Kevin Meyer
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. 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.
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 most 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.
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, 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, 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 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.