Results after Using a Standing Desk for 3 Months
I built a standing desk a few months ago and here's what I've experienced since then.
Quick Jump: My Motivation for Wanting to Stand | The First Few Days | Riding Out the Discomfort | Smooth Sailing After About 10 Days | Walking 10 Miles Didn't Phase Me at All | Present Day | Is It Worth It?
In case you missed it, about 3 months ago I posted a guide on how to build your own custom standing desk for about $50 without having to operate a saw.
My Motivation for Wanting to Stand
Before I share what I’ve learned in these last 3 months, let me first mention why I wanted to stand in the first place.
My main motivation was to improve my posture. I had the worst sitting habits known to man. I would routinely curl up in my chair and either sit indian style while lurching forward, or lean way back in my chair with my knees up.
You could totally notice my neck creeping forward even while standing. I had a textbook case of “text neck” except I don’t even own a smartphone (wtf?).
It wasn’t quite as bad as the 45 degree pose above but it was getting there.
I Also Wanted to Gain More Mobility Through Out the Day
My legs were in pretty good shape before I decided I wanted to try a standing desk due to walking about 2 miles a day for a few years, however there’s nothing wrong with wanting even more strength and endurance.
Lastly, I thought maybe I’d gain productivity simply because of being able to move around on a whim. A good stretch or Jean-Claude Van Damme style sidekick can do a lot for raising your morale.
The First Few Days
When I first built the desk I thought I would be able to handle standing barefoot at my desk all day on a hardwood floor without issues.
That didn’t really work out as planned but the first day was actually not bad at all. I wasn’t fatigued and my feet didn’t hurt at all by the end of the day.
After doing it for the second day the soles of my feet were pretty sore and my puny legs were begging for mercy.
During the third day I felt like I had to take breaks every hour or 2 and it was distracting me to the point where I was less productive than sitting.
Call me stupid but it took 3 days before I realized that maybe I should wear shoes when doing this, so the next day I wore my usual sneakers.
Riding Out the Discomfort
It took about an additional 4-5 days before my legs finally decided to join in on “team standing” which is where my brain was for about a week.
I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy to get through this phase. I thought about buying one of those super high mechanic chairs so I could take rests without losing work time.
I almost bought a laptop on a whim just to be able to work while sitting without having to manually adjust my monitors so I could comfortably use them while sitting in a normal chair.
Smooth Sailing After About 10 Days
I would say my legs fully adjusted 10 days into the experiment. I no longer thought about standing. I simply stood because that’s what I was doing.
My posture didn’t really improve but I didn’t expect it to. You can’t revert years of horrible sitting habits in 10 days.
During this time I also began to think about how nice sitting actually feels too. I had no problem standing, but wow sitting down for 5 minutes to eat felt amazing.
Walking 10 Miles Didn’t Phase Me at All
Roughly a month into standing I ended up going to NYC for a tech meetup. I walked roughly 10 miles that day with very little breaks.
I basically walked for 3 hours straight with 2x 5 minute breaks, then went to the meetup and walked around for another hour before taking the train back.
Then I walked 2 miles home from the train station because a friend dropped me off on the way there and after sitting for 90 minutes on the train I felt like walking.
Not only that but the next day I woke up and played a full round of golf.
Prior to standing I would have been able to pull the above off, but I am sure my leg muscles would have been noticeably sore the next day.
However, the day after playing golf I was able to stand no problem. It was as if the 10 mile walk and round of golf didn’t even happen from my leg’s POV.
At this point it’s been about 3 months since I started standing at my workstation. I do not look anything like the after picture but I do feel noticeably better.
I think my posture is starting to improve, I don’t feel so lurched forward when standing. It’s certainly not fully fixed but I feel different.
I also feel like my back muscles are stronger too.
I still continue to walk because standing certainly doesn’t replace exercise. At this point walking ends up being a pleasant break to standing relatively still.
Is It Worth It?
Maybe. I haven’t noticed any downsides so far. I love the mobility of standing, and I also really enjoy just taking 5 second breaks to give my legs a stretch.
Some people said they had trouble concentrating while standing but I haven’t experienced that. I never once thought like I had to sit down to solve a problem.
I also think I’m able to project my voice a lot better while standing which is going to help a lot in future courses that I create.
My latest Scaling Docker on AWS course was presented while standing and I’m pretty happy with the results.
I’m going to continue standing, and re-evaluate in 6 months.