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Standing Up To Write – One Writer’s Office

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday I spent most of the day rearranging my office so I could again stand while I write.

The impetus is at least two-fold:

The more I read the more I realize and experience that sitting for hours, even getting up every ten minutes just isn’t good for us. This article, Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics in the New York Times (just skip the ad to get to the article) sums up the research well.

This is also the first step to creating a treadmill desk. I really need to knock off some weight. I have a friend who is roughly my age.Ellie, who blogs at Minding the Middle Aged Middle, moved to Oregon to raise goats! In the process of building her goat farm she’s lost a ton of weight.

This is after both of us had tried various strategies with minimal success. Postmenopausal women simply have a tougher time losing than younger women and than men. She and I figure that a major part of her weight loss is the increased activity – you know, fence building, garden building, painting – you name it and she’s been doing it.

When you think about it, our ancestors, even back a generation or two, moved much more than we tend to do. I’m hopeful that the new setup will result in some weight loss for me. Of course, with the treadmill I still won’t be working as hard as Ellie does – maybe I’ll start raising a few chickens.  And if it doesn’t work for weight loss  I know I’ll feel better just because I’m moving more. Our bodies are meant to move and I’ve been an almost athlete often enough to remember the feeling of fitness.

In fact, I’m already moving more at the standing desk.  I find I want to sit when the phone rings so I take it to the living room and sit, then come back. My feet get tired of one position so I shuffle a bit. I’ve even been trying taking tiny marching steps to see if I can indeed write while my feed are moving, and yes I can!

The picture gives you a rough idea of my current setup. That tongue-like thing in the middle of the shot  is actually an ergonomic arm rest – while sitting it’s been helpful when doing a lot of mousing. Standing I’ll want to dig up its mate and at the moment I have no clue where it is. I bought the pair years and years ago and have used them well.

That’s a Ganesh statue in front of a speaker to the right of the screen, and my usual cup of coffee to the left. Oh, and yes, I use a roller ball mouse which suits me much more than any other mouse-like device. And just as soon as I replace the sunscreen I’ll have the foil off my window and my glorious canyon view back. And under the desk I’m currently using the subwoofer as a footrest of sorts.

I’m actually talking with a local treadmill repair guy and he’s going to find me a good used treadmill, then take the console off, equip it with a variable speed switch and I should be all set. He estimates that will run about $200. I bought the desk from Ikea at least six years ago and apparently they don’t sell it any more.  If you price treadmill desks they can run into the thousands, so this is a bargain.

It did take me awhile to remember how to move the desktop up – good vibes from a friend and the gentle use of a hammer solved it. I’d been using it as a printer stand at normal desk height. Now my printer is on the desk I used to sit at. And after some fuss it’s all working. Tomorrow, I’ll do a final dusting and vacuum, and maybe even get my Ox Herding pictures up.

Of course, they’ll have to find their place around what may be my favorite photo of all time, Dancers of the Third Age.

How do you keep active even though a good portion of your writing life is spent in front of a computer?


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