June 9, 2011

"Linda had no idea her desk was so deadly, noting how 'sitting is probably killing me.'"

That sounds a bit dramatic, but new studies show that sitting may be as dangerous as smoking. As with smoking, the more you do it, the worse it is for you.

Here's my new solution to the problem of sitting at a desk all day... the furniture equivalent of a nicotine patch:



ADDED: The desk is a Jesper 7000 Basic Sit/Stand Desk.

81 comments:

Lem said...

Rush had this story earlier today.

AllenS said...

Yesterday, Original Mike said he bought a couple of tables for the lab made by Wisconsin Prison Industries. Do they also make desks?

Lem said...

That desk reminds me of an old drafting table I used to have.. It would go up and down and swivel.

Robert Cook said...

I would like to have a desk that is high enough or can be raised up enough for me to stand at it. Sitting too long at a desk does become enervating.

Lem said...

Original Mike said he bought a couple of tables for the lab made by Wisconsin Prison Industries.

You mean there are people in prison in Wisconsin?

I'm shocked ;)

Ron said...

what, no optional pizza oven?

Scott M said...

Sweet. I can work at a desk that's waist or higher, but it's hard to type that way for some reason.

t-man said...

Of course, your motorized desk is just contributing to global warming. You should have gotten one that uses a hand crank.

Actually, I think that desk is very cool. I sit for most of the day, but not for more than 10 minutes at a time. I'm a fidgeter and tend to walk over to colleagues offices rather than using email or phone.

ricpic said...

If the strenuous life is so all fired good for your health how come the longest lived sector of the population is the wealthiest sector? With rare exceptions the ladies who lunch and their male equivalents outlast the harried general population by 5 - 10 years. Why? Because they lead relaxed lives. The issue isn't sedentary, it is relaxed sedentary versus harried sedentary.

traditionalguy said...

I had always heard about sitting all day making food go to fat around the middle. As we walk less and less these days, we need to start standing when staring into digital devices, or just go outside and walk a golf course in search of golf ball size white balls.

Palladian said...

Will you buy me one of those? My current "desk" is a hollow-core interior door with plumbing pipes for legs; they're screwed into pipe flanges which are attached to the bottom of the door. It was good enough while it lasted, but it's falling apart.

Bob Ellison said...

I cannot say with nerditude that this is a good idea.

dreams said...

I have an anthro desk and they also make one like Althouse's desk. Anthro desks can be bought at their web site.

d-day said...

Don't you get eyestrain facing that window?

d-day said...

Screw the motor - Donald Rumsfeld stands exclusively and he's like, older than my dad.

Palladian said...

Actually, I can't stand for very long due to sciatic nerve damage and a pinned-together hip, so maybe you can just buy me a regular desk. I like this one.

XWL said...

Now, you just need to take it to the next level, and add a treadmill to this set up...

E.M. Davis said...

That photo is so meta.

PatCA said...

Life is killing us.

pbAndj said...

This desk has already had it's debut. Via BHTV.

Ann Althouse said...

Should I get one of these things to use with the desk?

Robert Cook said...

"If the strenuous life is so all fired good for your health how come the longest lived sector of the population is the wealthiest sector?"

Aside from the point you raise that the wealthy don't have to work like dogs to keep themselves alive, the wealthy also have the money to pay for the latest and greatest and best from among the full panoply of health services and doctors available. Working stiffs and others paying exorbitantly for insufficient health insurance (or who have none) are fucked when they get sick.

E.M. Davis said...

Aside from the point you raise that the wealthy don't have to work like dogs to keep themselves alive, the wealthy also have the money to pay for the latest and greatest and best from among the full panoply of health services and doctors available. Working stiffs and others paying exorbitantly for insufficient health insurance (or who have none) are fucked when they get sick.

If we only knew how some of these wealthy you speak of got that way.

Motorized desks for all!

Palladian said...

"Should I get one of these things to use with the desk?"

No. Exercise equipment is too hideous for main rooms.

Ann Althouse said...

"Will you buy me one of those? My current "desk" is a hollow-core interior door with plumbing pipes for legs; they're screwed into pipe flanges which are attached to the bottom of the door. It was good enough while it lasted, but it's falling apart."

My father made a table exactly like that for me and my sister in the 1950s. It was great to have all that space to spread out drawing materials and things on. My maternal grandfather worked for a newspaper (The Ann Arbor News) and he would send us packages of paper, so we also always had plenty of paper.

E.M. Davis said...

Should I get one of these things to use with the desk?

Yes, if only so Meade can bounce quarters off your ass.

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian, what do you think of this standing table?

Ann Althouse said...

"Exercise equipment is too hideous for main rooms."

It's kind of the back room -- open to the kitchen. TV set up is here. Big old piano. Opens out to the deck. It's not the living room.

Ann Althouse said...

You know what's hideous in any room: a corpse!

Ann Althouse said...

"This desk has already had it's debut. Via BHTV."

Yeah. It let me do the recording standing up. I always teach standing up. It's good for your speaking... and you can get the best angle on the computer camera.

t-man said...

Palladian,

That desk made me think of Sally Field as "The Flying Nun."

It not practical, but I thought this desk would be more your style.

deborah said...

At the very least, get one of those large exercise balls to sit on while you are in sit-down mode. Keeping balanced all the time you are sitting will cause you to use extra muscles, especially your core muscles, I think.

E.M. Davis said...

Palladian, what do you think of this standing table?


Two-thousand fucking dollars for something the Coroner uses to trolley around dead folks?

E.M. Davis said...

Design Within Reach is such an oxymoron.

Lucius said...

From the rear in the still-frame view Althouse looks *so* much like Swedish pop diva Robyn!

So is this why Ann was standing so flirtily in the last Pinkerton bloggingheads? I noted that and thought it most fetching, but I wondered if it was just a whim of AAs-- in spring a young woman's fancy turns to blogging on Weiners or something?

But it works, it definitely works.

traditionalguy said...

And also wear Sketchers while standing/walking. They work.

Anthony said...

I thought those were the weirdest things, but then decided that it would be great at about 1 in the afternoon to be able to stand and work for a while.

Palladian said...

"Palladian, what do you think of this standing table?"

A bit clinical for my tastes. Easy to disinfect, though, if that's a concern.

Palladian said...

Palladian,

That desk made me think of Sally Field as "The Flying Nun."


It's based on an old Italian wallpaper hanger's table, I think.

It not practical, but I thought this desk would be more your style.

Very nice, though I prefer something like this. 12 feet is the proper length for a desk.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Palladian, what do you think of this standing table?

We had several of those in our deli/smoked foods processing area. Great for cleaning fish, chicken and meat and other processing because the can be easily disenfected, as Palladian says.

As a desk. Not so much.

Now that I am at home working instead of at an office, I cook something while computing. That way I have to watch the time so I don't get lost in internet land, get up from the desk go up the stairs, walk around and stand in the kitchen. Washing and folding laundry also keeps me from becoming a vegetable.

The side benefit is clean laundry and COOKIES.

AllenS said...

Palladian, contact the New York State prison industries. Maybe they'll make you a really big license plate with legs. If they will, and it comes in a large cardboard box, get a long knife and stab it a few times. Just in case.

rhhardin said...

There's an old comedy bit that has a guy following a desk he's working at up and down, that I can't place at the moment.

A motorized chair to follow the desk up and down is the obvious next step.

I have a computer on a lectern pic at the far left, which actually was merely a space saving move.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy said...

Does riding around on your widdle bicycle taking pictures with your widdle camera count?

EDH said...

What's really convenient for us guys is that with one touch of a button you can lower the desk height (and web cam) to "wiener level" and Tweet accordingly.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Also.... My father, now in his 80's, has spent a lifetime of sitting. First as a printer operating a linotype machine, later teletype and lastly computers. After retirement, he became an author of travel books which also required a lot of sitting.

The doctor recently diagnosed him with some pretty serious leg/circulation issues from all of the long term sitting.

The prescription: get a dog.

You have to walk a dog several times a day (or else you have serious carpet issues). Now they walk at about a half mile or more 3 times a day down to the ocean and along the beach and have the joy of owning a wonderfully cute, 3 year old, loving dog that they adopted from an elderly woman who was going into long term care.

What a great prescription, for everyone!

Palladian said...

It's a little hard to see in this picture, but my dining table, by Achille Castiglioni, the same genius designer of the little desk I linked earlier, can be raised up to standing height, though it's a hell of a lot more work than pushing a button.

Robert Cook said...

"If we only knew how some of these wealthy you speak of got that way."

Many got it the old-fashioned way...they inherited it!

edutcher said...

Uh, wouldn't it be just that much more healthful if you did that manually? Because there are desks like that.

But, yes, at our general age, if you sit for a while and then get up, you notice how stiff you are, so getting off your tush on a regular basis is a very good thing.

Ann Althouse said...

You know what's hideous in any room: a corpse!

Errol Flynn thought it was a scream.

Robert Cook said...

"If we only knew how some of these wealthy you speak of got that way."

Many got it the old-fashioned way...they inherited it!


Cook, Kell Sir Prize, is still grooving on the Democrat propaganda from the '30s. According to the IRS, 80% of all millionaires are self-made.

Now he has to break all those hearts back at the Daily Worker.

Mike K said...

Working stiffs and others paying exorbitantly for insufficient health insurance (or who have none) are fucked when they get sick.

Actually, after 40 years as a doctor, I have concluded that the worst medical care is that provided to the rich, then comes the poor. Too many rich people order their doctors around and indulge in weirdo alternative medicine.

One example; Eleanor Roosevelt died of miliary tuberculosis while being treated for leukemia. The miliary form is widespread and often causes very high white counts.

Richard Nixon had an operation done for his deep vein phlebitis that is in no textbook. The surgeon, I think I know him, tied off his iliac vein, guaranteed to cause a lifelong swollen leg. My partner and I were afraid we were going to get him in our hospital, just up the road from San Clemente, and heaved a sigh of relief when he went to the political doctors in Long Beach.

Then he died when they stopped his anti-coagulant. Massive stroke.

I've seen it over and over. Middle class medicine is the best.

Beth said...

Boingboing's been exploring this for months now, and has some good posts on DIY alternatives to the very expensive, motorized adjustible desks on the market. Unfortunately, since the topic unfolded over time, they failed to tag the posts well. Go over to boingboing.net and just search the site for "standing desk" and you'll find some great examples.

One thing many people who've changed over seem to agree on: get a good gel mat, the best you can afford.

We'll be converting to these in our house over the next few months. I'd be interested from hearing from Althouse how it's worked out after a few weeks pass.

Mike K said...

Rumsfeld has used a standup desk since the Navy. I took my copy of his book to the Reagan Library for him to sign. They had this beautiful desk for him and then had to run around to find an elevated table for him to use to sign. It was a cheap cocktail table.

I reminded him that Raymond Spruance had used one, too.

Ann Althouse said...

"Uh, wouldn't it be just that much more healthful if you did that manually? Because there are desks like that."

No, because I'd be less likely to do the readjustments.

E.M. Davis said...

Does riding around on your widdle bicycle taking pictures with your widdle camera count?

Jeremy takes every opportunity, even in a thread about desks, to insult our host.

EDH said...

Now all you need is an automatic chair.

"The power of Christ compels you... Okay, sick as a dog now. Okay... Okay... gonna vom."

E.M. Davis said...

How cold is it in your house?

You're wearing a jacket ... in June!

Tom said...

Here is my standing desk. It's the Ikea Jerker, which sadly has been discontinued. People sell them on Craigslist however.

pbAndj said...

"It's kind of the back room -- open to the kitchen. TV set up is here. Big old piano. Opens out to the deck. It's not the living room."

A piano?

Now we know what happens at Meadehouse.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Uh, wouldn't it be just that much more healthful if you did that manually? Because there are desks like that."

No, because I'd be less likely to do the readjustments.


That's got nothing to do with its healthfulness(?), just whether you want to make the effort.

Fred4Pres said...

Standing is good. Walking around is good too.

Ann Althouse said...

"That's got nothing to do with its healthfulness(?), just whether you want to make the effort."

The things that you actually do are the only things that will have an effect. The trick is to get things that cause you to do something good, not things you won't use that might do good if you used them. It's like buying vegetables that sit in the crisper until they rot. You're better off buying a bottle of V8 if you actually drink the V8.

Ann Althouse said...

"How cold is it in your house? You're wearing a jacket ... in June!"

The temperature suddenly dropped 30 degrees last night. This morning, with the windows open, it was 63° in this room.

deborah said...

I agree with Prof, e, anything that can streamline a good habit will reinforce the habit.

Phil 3:14 said...

Professor;
The next step

Tom said...

Ann, instead of the elliptical, you might have a look at the TreadDesk headless walking treadmill, designed for "standing desk geeks".

Here is a nice Youtube of it in action

PatCA said...

So if I work standing up now, I can start smoking again?

(I actually do go to the gym and read on the treadmill every day.)

Eclecticity said...

Band link to the table for me?

John Lynch said...

Bad link to the desk.

galdosiana said...

@Tom:

I like that treadmill desk a lot! I also saw a show a few months ago in which a man had built a pedal system (with resistance, to make it more beneficial) under his desk. He could pedal the entire time he was working at his computer, and he averaged about 10 miles a day that way.

David said...

Bad link to the desk (or Bad Blogger.)

Skyler said...

So smoking isn't hazardous anymore?

Ann Althouse said...

Link fixed. (It was my fault.)

Ann Althouse said...

A treadmill like that might be nice some of the time, but it's so big and clunky that it would end up stuck there all the time, and it wouldn't be cool. It would look bad, feel bad, and probably have a noise and a funny smell. Also, it would totally be in the way when I want to lower the desk and sit on a chair.

I'd need something small that could be easily moved out of the way. I've seen a compact elliptical machine, but I question whether it would work well enough.

Peter Hoh said...

Wish I had the money to order a Shaker-style standing desk from Sippican Cottage.

Angie said...

The attorney I work for has a motorized desk and a stool that when you sit on it reminds me of one of those big exercise balls that some use at their desks. Only the stool is so much more comfy, no back, jiggly, adjustable and stable. Sometimes, depending on the height of his desk, I feel like I'm approaching the bench to drop something in his in-basket. I'm rather short, he's tall and he sometimes has his desk adjusted to my chin height while he stands. Seriously, I may ask for a motorized desk for my Christmas bonus because of the adjustable comfort.

Peter Hoh said...

Standing desks are all the rage in a certain block of cubes at work.

I like the idea, and may try to put in something like that at home.

pbAndj said...

"Standing desks are all the rage in a certain block of cubes at work."

The Rumsfeld legacy.

Roy Lofquist said...

So,

I sit in front of my computer about 10 hours a day, chain smoke and contribute more than my fair share to per capita gin consumption.

You people are encouraged to dump on me unmercifully. Just send along proof that you are at least 70 years of age.

Fernandinande said...

IOW, smoking is no more dangerous than just sitting.

That sounds a bit dramatic

Because it's not true.

Roy Lofquist said...

Fern,

Not what I said. A number of surveys have been done over the years. They show that people believe that smoking is three time as dangerous as it actually is. Propaganda! All of those smoking related deaths? Most of those folks drank water all their lives too.

Roy

blake said...

I treadmill-desk blogged for 30 weeks in 2008-2009.

Might make more sense to start at the bottom if you want to read the whole saga.

Executive summary:

-> I got started with a cheapie treadmill offa Craig's List and a plank of wood. You're probably fussier than I am, though.

-> If you're going to use it hardcore (like 6-8 hours a day), you can't really go cheap, and you can't trust a fold up. They're not sturdy enough, according to my research.

-> If you're going to do the 6-8 hour a day thing, you'll want shoes. You probably would anyway but I went barefoot.

-> A nice treadmill won't make much noise at a low speed. For the lowest speeds (1/2 mph), you need a better machine, actually.

There are other tips there, too, but that's what I've learned.