sedentary behavior


Can’t Have A Treadmill Desk At Work? Try A Wobble Board

wobble board

(Photo: Carey Goldberg)

If your workplace is like mine, employees are popping up like meerkats: As the evidence mounts that sitting for long periods is unhealthy, they’re setting up standing desks for themselves, and spending large portions of every day upright.

I posted about my own little makeshift desk here, and today, NPR’s Patti Neighmond writes about her own experiment with a treadmill desk. (Helpful advice: Don’t expect to instantly jump on and spend all day on it, you need time to adjust; and for certain complex mental tasks, you may still need to sit.)

Of course, many of us would love a treadmill, but work in cubicles or desk farms that cannot fit them, or in venues where even a quiet motor would be too disruptive. So I’d like to share some sage advice from my personal standing-desk guru, Tom Anthony, the CommonHealth reader who recently inspired me to rise to my own feet.

He suggested adding a “wobble board” like the one above, an unstable plastic disk that lets you add a challenging element of balance to your standing time. Several companies make them, including Reebok and BodyFit; they cost under $20; and they add a bit of spice and fun to standing. Tom writes:

standing desk

Reader Tom Anthony’s standing desk

Two years ago, I built a standing desk for my computer after reading the dangers of sitting too much. I bought an artist table but it was too wobbly so I reinforced it with some oak cross bars slats that I bought from Lowes for $15. Now it is like a rock. I also dropped in a 3″ PVC pipe between the slats and the front supports as a “bar rail”. Surprisingly, it is easier to stand on one foot while resting your other foot on the bar rail (bars figured this out long ago).

I have been standing at my computer ever since. It took me 3 weeks to get used to standing all day (am 71 years old). At first it was very tiring & discouraging but now I stand all day long without thinking. We are much more adaptable than we think.

Since standing gets boring and can strain the legs and feet, I added this wobble board last year to stand on, to get some exercise and motion. It allows lot of varied movements, does not take up the space of a treadmill and is 100 times cheaper. It took about a week to get comfortable typing while wiggling on it as I am doing right now. It works great, is fun & quiet and your legs and feet never get tired or strained as they do with just standing, even with the bar rail. Sometimes I am on the wobble board for 8 hours a day if I have a long internet session on a rainy day. Continue reading