A Salty Guide to the Standing Desk

Sitting =

Sitting is the new smoking.  We read it all the time and we’ve even written about it here.

For me it’s been one of those things I’ve read about numerous times, but I have had a hard time doing anything about it. I’ve researched various models of standing desks for more than two years and never quite found anything that fit my needs or finances.

That said, after last fall’s training season, I realized that I really need to get out of my sitting pattern if I am going to train at a high level. Or even medium level. I often sit for 10 hours a day (if not more), and only get up 3-4 times a day for a couple of minutes at a time. After I hit age 40, it started taking a toll. After hard workouts in the morning, I would get up after a few hours of sitting and would feel excruciatingly sore. You know the feeling – you get up, workout hard, then sit for hours at work. You get up for a glass of water and AI-YI-YI your hammies, hips (insert  your problematic body part) scream in protest.

It was time for me to do something.

So I started my serious research into the subject. Since I did the leg work, I thought I’d share some of my findings with you as well.

Truth be told, it was was very hard to find something that would work right for me. Several people I work with have adjustable standing desks so they can easily transition from sitting to standing.  Here is a very popular model I checked out several times.

Varidesk PRO
Varidesk PRO

It sounds functionally awesome, but it is big. And would only fit onto the main open space on my desk. I often have people in my office sitting across from me to chat. Having that monstrosity in front of me would not be ideal.

I also looked at some of the slick desks that raise up and down, as well as the stand-alone standing desks, like this:


Unfortunately, neither would work within my space or working style. So I started searching for DIY standing desks. There are a lot of ideas out there, but most simply wouldn’t work.

While this might work for my home office, not so much my law fiirm.
While this might work for my home office, not so much my law firm.

So I resorted to a Google search for this: “best looking  standing desks

Judge all you want, but hallelujah – it worked!  I found a sweet DIY standing desk idea that would fit into my space and claimed it could be done for $22.

I had to make some modifications as I have dual monitors, but I received everything and set it up this weekend. It is perfect! I need to get a comfortable mat to stand on, and no doubt more comfortable shoes, but I am excited about it. My set-up does not go up and down, but I still do have space to sit at my desk if I need to. Check it out:


Do you have a standing desk?  Do you like it?  Have you noticed any benefits?

Mindi is a serial marathoner. She is a private practice attorney, wife and mom of two awesome (and super fast) boys, ages 12 and 14. She coaches Girls on the Run and is a big advocate of youth running.

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  1. I’ve had a standing desk for almost a year and love it!
    Costco sells a mat for $20 that makes it more comfortable. I did find that I was more tired in the beginning but now that I’ve gotten used to it- it’s not an issue.

  2. Since all that stuff about the health effects of sitting and the fact that sitting really irritated various lower body parts, I really try not to sit much at all. If I’m tired I
    read lying down but usually i do everything standing up. The only time I sit is if i need to type a lot or to eat with the family. Oh and driving. Since I’m at home though I sometimes just rig up my laptop on a box on the kitchen counter. I like the Pringles can tho! I haven’t seen them in years!

  3. I am a teacher, so I have the luxury of getting up and being able to move around quite a bit, but I also enjoy working at my laptop standing up. We have an office on our second floor at home, but I usually set my laptop up on our kitchen island. I still have to hunch over a bit to use it, but I prefer that to sitting. I didn’t know that standing desks even existed. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Funny you mention hunching over. Another reason I was interested in switching to standing is I found my posture was suffering from sitting all the time. I am hoping this will help with that too!

  4. The setup looks great! I’m 2 years into standing at work, and most days I kick off my shoes under my desk (which might not be an option for you at your office! Mine is lax.) I find myself doing calf raises and various stretches throughout the day, simply because I’m barefoot/already standing up. And while I know that my training probably has the most to do with it, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the last 2 years of running have been my most successful and most injury-free yet. I really believe that cutting out all those hours of sitting has helped!


    1. Ha – I am barefoot as we speak (write?). I too find myself moving around and stretching quite a bit. I am glad to hear it worked out so well for you – I hope I have the same results!

    1. It was super easy to assemble. We added several extra screws to attach the shelf for the keyboard to the table, however. The table is made of compressed particle board, so it is pretty lightweight. A few extra screws made me feel like it was sturdier. Another option would be getting 3″ bolts to secure it. I am really happy with the size of the shelf – it fits both my keyboard and mouse quite nicely.

  5. I have a government job: I asked my doctor for a note for a standing desk and VOILA! with much prodding I got my standing desk. I’m a federal civil servant lifer, so this is actually a great investment.

    I am much more productive. I also don’t get sleepy in the afternoon. I love love love love it.

    1. I think more and more employers are open to the idea these days. Out of curiosity, on what basis did the DR write the note? I have a friend who has one for back issues, but I don’t know that a doctor would write one for me for as it isn’t any particular injury or issue that led me to do this.

  6. Everyone at my workplace has an adjustable desk (more like a table. . .) and about half of us have them in standing position. It is 2.5′ x 5′ (I just measured) and I love it. We also have adjustable chairs, so sometimes I do sit at my standing desk which makes me feel vaguely guilty, but sitting just feels nice sometimes. . .

  7. A couple coworkers have a sitstand, similar to the Varidesk. Our office is gradually growing so eventually we will all have sitstands but for the time being, I ordered this off of Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/iCraze-Adjustable-Computer-Multifuctional-Ergonomics/dp/B00466887G/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1422990490&sr=8-9&keywords=laptop+desk

    I like it but lately, I have gotten in the habit of sitting more than standing out of laziness. It might be the weather. I do often use a stability ball as a chair though and that helps break up the monotony.

    1. Now that is impressive. I think I would hurt myself (and prove to be a source of entertainment) if I tried to use a stability ball as a chair. I am definitely not balanced or coordinated enough for that.

  8. I’ve had a stand up desk for a year. It took a month or two to get to standing 90% of the time. I also have a stool to sit on when I need a break. Usually I sit when I’m eating lunch so I can lounge over the internet 🙂 Also, I find if I’ve had a tough morning workout, I will sit for the first hour or so then I am good to go. I stand in my socks most of the time and I have a foot rub ball under my desk. It feels really good to rub my feet during the day 🙂 Other than feeling physically better, I am able to focus and be much more alert when I am standing. Good luck!