My standing desk made me lazy

Josh Sherman
4 min read
Health / Fitness

You may remember my previous post about my switching to a standing desk. I absolutely loved it. I felt inspired with the new perspective and genuinely felt better. It took a few weeks to get used to the new setup. Most of the initial hurdle was tired legs from years of sitting. It was great not having my back in knots after a day of coding, but the triumph was short lived.

Earlier this month, I started to notice that by around lunch time my calves were a bit swollen. Since I went all in on the desk, I just powered through it. Initially I sluffed it off as a temporary thing but after a few days of the same, I decided to investigate my legs a bit further.

Along with my mid-day cankles, I was starting to notice signs of varicose veins. Did some research on the matter and came across some great articles on folks ditching their standing desks as well as recommendations to get some compression socks. I did the latter because I really didn’t want to backpedal on the new setup.

A week with compression socks later, I was feeling better, but hated the idea that I needed special gear just to be able to use my desk. I started to analyze what had happened to me over the last few months. Since I started using a standing desk, my activity level had plumetted quite a bit. Standing all day doesn’t rack up steps on the pedometer and I had cut out my daily walks.

It’s not that I hate walking, but since I’m working on something I love, I definitely find excuses to NOT take a break. That’s a far cry from my hour coffee break walks from last year. Somewhere in there I brainwashed myself to think that simply standing all day was just as good as getting off my ass. Standing all day had made me lazy.

On top of all of that, I had also been standing way too much. I work all day and get on my grind most nights. Some days I would be standing upwards of 12 to 14 hours. My desk is fixed position, definitely a caveat for a first timer.

So I added walks back into my routine, just a short mile walk after lunch. I could definitely see an improvement in how I felt, but leg swelling remained. From what I can tell, now that the newness of the standing desk has worn off my posture has gotten lazy. Couple that with the fact that I tend to stand quite still when I’m knocking out code. Often times I put all of my weight on my left leg. That’s the leg that was showing the worse signs.

Health risks and cankles aside, I realized that my daughter and I no longer sat at my desk and played Minecraft or watch stupid animal videos or work on her Python skills. Standing desks simply aren’t family friendly. You could make the argument about sitting shaves years off my life, but at the same time, standing is prohibiting some of our quality time.

That put it over the edge, I gave up on my standing desk. Fortunately my setup was designed to be able to return to a sitting position if that time came and my buddy never came over to take my chair so it was still here too. A day back into sitting and my calves are as sore as my first days standing. Glad I invested in a couple of pairs of compression socks! It’s weird to be sitting again, the view just isn’t right but it’s a change and that alone makes it interesting again.

My plan for the coming weeks is to get into a better walking / running routine. We’re approaching rainy season and it’s hot as fuck so that will be how I start my day. I also decided to get back into listening to podcasts so that I can at least double down on it being a productive use of my time.

I’m going to miss the standing desk. I think it would have been better in an office environment where I could leave it at the end of the day instead of as my primary workspace at home. Will I try it again in the future? Most likely!

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Engineering Manager and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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