Late last year I bought stand-up desks for my co-worker and friend Nancy Jarial as well as for myself. Nancy had done the cover and interior artwork on two of my books and wouldn’t take one cent. So, I bought her a desk. It’s something we’d talked about and were both interested in. We had even installed shelves next to our desks with the idea of using them to set our laptops on for some stand-up work. Although it sounded like a good idea, it wasn’t very practical when it came to moving cords and devices. My shelf is used now to stack my obsessive supply of Keurig cups (I have more than 20 boxes).  After one more cup of coffee it was time for me to research getting the most out of your stand-up desk.

Now that we have the stand-up desks hardly a day goes by that we don’t both take advantage of them. Some days we stand more than sit. The next step is to take their use further. One of the reasons we wanted the desks are the health hazards of sitting for eight or more hours per day. “Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Mayo Clinic: What are the health risks of sitting too much?

The Next Step

For me it’s deskercise. I find it difficult to hold still when I’m standing; the truth is I don’t sit still very well either. There are hundreds of examples and illustrations of stand-up desk exercises from aerobics to yoga — all you need do is google it, and you’ll find what fits you best. For me, I’ve begun with a few simple exercises, most of which I’ve done for years.

Hamstring Curls

Five years ago when I was running 15 to 20 miles a week, hamstring stretches were part of my pre-jog stretch routine. I find the exercise easy to do at my standing perch.

Calf Raises

This is a natural for me, simply stand on your toes and then back to flat footed and repeat.

Side Lunge

This one was new to me, but it’s easy and effective. Lunge your left leg out as far as you can and still be safe, return to the middle and then stretch your right leg.

Desk Push Up

I’ve done something similar against the walls of my shower at home for several years. Instead of pushing off from a wall you push off from your desk. However, test it first to be certain you won’t push the desk off its support.

Shoulder Stretches

This is another that’s part of my pre-jog and pre-hike warm up. My method is to fold one arm and then another across my chest and stretch. Next, I raise one arm over my head and then stretch it across my head. I also stretch my neck by moving my head as far as is comfortable in each direction, right left, up, and down and then holding it there for a five count.

What’s the Next Step for Getting the Most of Your Stand-Up Desk?

Well, I have been looking at devices for stand up desks such as treadmills, (a little pricey), a miniature elliptical (under $100, but my wife had one and found it difficult to use and squeaky – she gave it to Goodwill), and there are even devices to make your bicycle stationary (getting it up the stairs every day would be a nuisance). When I’m ready I might begin with a simple step. However, the most likely next step for me and my stand-up desk isn’t to add accessories but to get organized. Such as creating a checklist of daily exercises with times throughout the day. Do you have one? How are you getting the most use out of your stand-up desk?