Writers, ARISE! Sitting is the New Smoking!
I’m writing you standing up. My husband Jeff constructed a new stand-up desk for me with $38.58 (including tax!) worth of Ikea parts. This because—in case you haven’t heard—sitting is the new smoking. No kidding. The more you sit, the poorer your health and the earlier you die. And if anyone has sat on her derriere forever, c’est moi. It’s an occupational hazard for writers, not to mention just about everyone else who works in an office and/or at a computer.
I read a couple of articles about “the new smoking” which alarmed me enough to spring into action—by sitting on my duff and researching stand-up desks online. If you Google “How to Build a Stand-up Desk” you will be overwhelmed with plans, a lot of which boil down to buying some Ikea parts. So simple, cheap and easy.
We have an old desk in our guest room that we moved to Minneapolis when we sold my parents’ house in South Carolina many years ago. We decided we could just build a stand on top of that. I didn’t want to give up the “smoking” desk in my study. But the old desk top was a half inch too narrow to hold the Ikea side table on which I’d put my laptop. So we decided we had to buy a 22″ table top to go on top of the old desk. We could have been engineers!
Off we went to Ikea with a list I had compiled from an online “how to” article. Results: a Linnmon table top for $10.99; 2 Ekby Valter brackets for $8.00; a Lack side table for $9.99; a Ekby Viktor Shelf for $5.99; and a package of non-skid pads for the table legs for $.99. At the hardware store we picked up 4 sets of 3″ bolts, washers and screws to attach the brackets which would hold the keyboard shelf to the table, which would sit on top of the desk.
Lugged the stuff home. Jeff set to screwing the legs on the Lack table and bolting the brackets on two of the legs for the shelf. It all involved a certain amount of drilling and cussing. I lay on the guest room bed murmuring praise and reading my Kindle.
When “we” had the whole thing assembled—parents’ old desk as base, topped by Linnmon table top, topped by Lack table on which I put my laptop, with brackets bolted to two of the Lack table legs to hold the shelf for my ergonomic key board and mouse, we had a glorious sense of accomplishment. For about two minutes. The desk was too high for me. Ergonomically, my arms and hands should be about level with my waist for typing. Adding the Linnmon table top to the desk had made the whole shebang too high for me.
Solution: remove the new table top from the old desk, put it on the floor, and let me stand on it. Turn the Lack table to the side on the desk and sort of wedge the whole contraption next to the wall so it won’t topple off.
Then I bought a big ticket item: a 24″ Wellness mat for $101.99. The idea being if I’m going to be standing at a desk so much, I need a cushion on which to stand.
I told Jeff I was thrilled with my new stand-up desk. Except for the standing part.
Can I sit down now?