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Member Appreciation Month: The Alternative Desk

Chances are good you already know someone using an alternative desk. Today we're taking a look at some of those options along with the health and productivity benefits they may provide.

Reasons to Consider Making a Change. It's no surprise to hear that sitting for the majority of the day is unhealthy. Factoring in the number of hours spent sitting at a desk with commute and couch potato time, Americans spend about 58 percent of their waking hours in a sitting position.

There's even a name for this sedentary lifestyle — sitting disease — and it carries with it numerous health implications including a higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and blood clots. For some, all this sitting is also a pain in the neck...and back, literally.

Which is why so many people are turning to creative ways to spend less time sitting at their desk.

Top 5 Alternatives to Sitting in Your Desk Chair. Interested in making a change? Here are a few options to consider...

1. Standing Desk: Just what it sounds like, a standing desk is taller than your regular desk and no chair is used. (Use this handy height calculator to determine your ideal standing desk height.) Not only are you more likely to burn more calories using a standing desk, but a recent study also found that standing desks boost worker productivity. If you go this route, mix things up by sitting down in meetings or taking a short walk at break, since standing all day can also take a toll on your body.

2. Standing Desk + Balance Board: For those who really want a challenge, try using one of the balance boards on the market, like IndoBoard or FluidStance, in conjunction with using a standing desk. You'll use both core and hip strength to stand upright on this unstable surface, both of which are areas weakened by prolonged sitting. But be forewarned, some people find using this option provides too much distraction. It might be best to limit its use to short periods of time.

3. Variable-Height Adjustable Desk: The best of both worlds, this desk allows you to change the height of the desk from standing to sitting so you can easily switch throughout the day. ISBA Director of CLE Jeanne Heaton uses the ThermoDesk Elite by iMovR and loves the flexibility it provides. "It helps me think about and improve my posture (and decrease back pain). It also helps me avoid the fatigue that comes from sitting all day — and they say that sitting is the new smoking in terms of health risks, so I'm also improving my overall health."

4. Stability Ball: One of the first alternative desk options on the market, stability ball chairs have come a long way. The benefit of using this method is that you're engaging your core abdominal muscles throughout the day. Make it more office-appropriate (and stable) by purchasing a base and back. These add-ons will also help you maintain good posture and not fall off the back. Learn more about the pros, cons, and proper sitting technique here.

5. Workout Desk [Treadmill | Elliptical | Seated Stepper]: Overachievers, step right up. Now you can get a workout in while you work. This option will help you meet your FitBit step goal without leaving the office. The downside is that it's not right for all office settings and it can produce noise. Like the standing desk, it's better to use this option in conjunction with a regular desk (or other option)...this is how frequent ISBA CLE speaker Barron Henley has set up his office.

One bonus option to consider, ISBA's Director of Legislative Affairs uses a portable cardboard standing desk converter like this one to turn the best view in his office into his view. Placed on the credenza in front of the picture window in his office, he's able to soak up some of the incoming sun (vitamin D) while standing and working at his station, all for under $40.

Desk4Successers --- Have you used any of the options above, or another option not covered? Share your experience by posting in the comments below.


Enjoy the holiday weekend! We'll see you back here next Tuesday and Wednesday as we wrap up our Desk4Success Challenge month.

Posted on May 26, 2017 by Sara Anderson
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