The Stone Age Meets the Future

standingdesk

Here’s my new home office. I’ve thrown out the chair – instead I just got myself a standing desk. Why?

The Paleo Manifesto

The reason for the standing desk is the inspiring book, seen to the left on the desk: The Paleo Manifesto by John Durant. The book won’t be released until September 17th, but I got a preview copy from the author at the AHS conference recently.

I have previously read Paleo books by Staffan Lindeberg, Loren Cordain, Mark Sisson, Art De Vany and Robb Wolf (*) – but The Paleo Manifesto is different.

The book is not only more fun to read (more eloquent and with more stories), but it’s also packed with thought-provoking ideas. Ideas that feel fresh, even though I thought I had read all about Paleo before. I recommend the book warmly – a review will be coming.

Stone Age and Present Meet

So why stand up and work? It’s not about calorie obsession. The short answer is rather that people are ill-suited to sitting down all day. Not sitting down ten hours per day may potentially provide better posture, better health, better hormonal balance, improved alertness during the day and better sleep at night. Maybe. For the long answer, I will refer to the book.

Do I feel better with a standing desk? Time will tell, but so far I love it. After a week with my standing desk I haven’t lowered it even once.

So to the obvious question: Did people have beautiful internet-connected computers with wireless keyboard and mouse back in the Stone Age? Were there any sound canceling headphones connected to Spotify? No, of course not. And for neither Durant nor me is this about reenacting the Stone Age.

It’s about using all that our modern society offers, but adapting our life to suit the bodies we were born with. To continue evolving into the future – but still being aware of our heritage from the industrial society, the agrarian society, the Stone Age and even further back to where we once came from.

The Book


Order The Paleo Manifesto (*)

Gadget tips

The standing desk is from IKEA and is called Galant. (My desk is 160 x 80 cm).

The wonderful computer is a 27″ iMac, the latest model (don’t order now, there’ll an updated faster version this fall).

The headphones (*) are great for those who often work with a 2-year old in the next room – or if you travel a lot by train and airplane. They effectively suppress ambient noise. If you also have music on, you’ll be totally unaffected by what’s going on around you.

More

Do You Want Great Teeth? Eat Paleo

The Paleo Movement of a Hundred Years Ago

Top 17 Low-Carb & Paleo Doctors with Blogs

Were Our Ancestors Meat Eaters Millions of Years Ago?

All Posts on the Paleo Diet

P.S.

*/ Support link. Order via Amazon using this link and I’ll get a referral fee. You’ll pay exactly the same amount.

I have no financial ties to the other companies mentioned above; IKEA, Apple and Spotify.

24 comments

  1. Matt
    I switched to a standing desk about a year ago. It has made a world of difference. Never again will I use a sitting desk at work.
  2. Vivek
    Hmmm. Did Ikea have to produce a special model that gets to Dr Eenfeldt's height ;-)
  3. Dez
    I tried a standing desk at work & home but had to switch back to sitting due to concentration issues. However, it was before I lost 100 pounds so maybe it's worth a try again. I just happen to have a galant desk at work anyways and could easily switch it back... but because I'm 6'7" (200cm) I have to use concrete blocks to get the thing even taller.
    Reply: #4
  4. I'm 6'7" too (202 cm) and this standing desk is perfect for me at maximum elevation. But everybody else entering my office feel like a hobbit. :)
  5. Freddie
    I... am really glad this works for some people, but it sounds like utter torture to me. No thanks.
  6. Chris Buck
    Good move! Mike Boyle, a strength and conditioning coach here in the U.S. wrote an article a few years ago called "sitting will be the death of you." As a trainer, one of the most common problems I have with the population I service is shoulder, neck, and lower back health from sitting in front of a computer and desk all day.
  7. Greg
    So how do you type? with your arms up like a zombie? I couldn't imagine using this without a keyboard tray. Having my arms up at shoulder level just to type or bending my neck downward to see the monitor hurt more than sitting all day.
  8. Galina L.
    It is more like a personal opinion, but I believe it is also important to sit for a while on a floor cross-legged. As people age, they loose their ability to sit in a such way and to stand-up after sitting that low. I observe it in my mother who is 76 years old, but over-vise she is in a good physical shape.
    I watch TV and read sitting on a floor.
  9. MargaretRC
    II can convert my "desk" to a standing desk any time I want (or get tired of sitting.) I'm set up on a breakfast bar in our apartment that is the perfect height for standing and working. When I get tired, I can sit down on the high bar stool that is also the right height. :)
  10. Sherry
    Greg, I'm not sure what you think the desk is like, but imagine sitting at your desk and then standing up, and while you're standing up, the height of the top of the desk rises with you so that you're looking at your monitor at the same angle and your arms are at the same angle as when you were sitting down. Does that make sense?
  11. Xotli
    While I suppose it's good, I can't imagine using it for whole 8 hours in work... I suppose good balance between standing and sitting would be best, but that probably needs pricer desk that you'll be able to rise up whenever you want.
  12. murray
    I got my first stand-up desk about 8 years ago. It is great for reading, especially. No problem with keyboards, I just adjust the height. (Mine has an electronic height adjustment.) Even my son (now 14) took to a standup desk and most of his teachers accommodated this for the past several years at school. One of the many benefits of a standup desk is increased blood flow to the brain as compared to sitting.

    Note that numerous great writers and thinkers had stand-up desks, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Virginia Woolf and Winston Churchill. The great American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (coining legal expressions such as "Clear and Present danger" and "the marketplace of ideas') observed that nothing contributes to brevity in writing as much as tired knees. He hand-wrote all his judgments (known to be succinct) at a standup desk. (He lived into his 90s and became the longest serving justice of the US Supreme Court.) I personally find handwriting at a standup desk to be very mentally hygienic. And as Nietzsche observed, never trust a thought that comes to you while sitting.

  13. Eric
    I looked up that desk series and the adjustability of the legs was less than I would expect to be sufficient for a true stand up desk. Unless there are other models with greater height variation, they dont look like they can get tall enough. 60-82 cm doesnt seem nearly tall enough, especially for someone of your height.

    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S19852113/

    Reply: #14
  14. Dez
    I had to add a few boxes and a keyboard stand to it to bring everything up to the right level.
  15. Eric
    Also, at work, some of us (my desk wont support it) have raised desks they can stand at, and also tall chairs so they can alternate between standing and sitting.
  16. Pedro
    IKEA Sweden (where the doctor is from) has more items in the Galant range. This is probably the base he used.

    http://www.ikea.com/se/sv/catalog/products/90088946/

    There is also this one
    http://www.ikea.com/se/sv/catalog/products/70088947/

  17. JAUS
    Sitting on a chair is not good at all. Standing, squatting and lying down are the three main stationary (natural) positions for humans. I sleep on a japanese futon (not the bloated American sofa variant), much better than any bed I have ever slept on. Modern beds are way to soft and hurt your back, a thin cotton-stuffed mattress on the floor all that's needed.

    I also have been thinking about making a standing desk myself, so this is was a reminder for me to to realize that plan.

    I would also like to have a Japanese squat toilet but it's hard to find them here, unfortunately. The Squatting position is the optimal position for emptying ones bowels. I have never understood those who like to sit for hours on the toilet seat, i never spend more than 5 minutes doing my business unless i have serious problems with my stomach.

  18. Galina L.
    Jaus,
    Try to buy a squatting-style toilet from Turkey, I encountered such toilets there a lot, even in airport in Antalia.
  19. Tomas Blesa
    Is there any hard science supporting the theory that sitting is a problem? It looks like everybody here has attitude "of coarse it is problem" but where is the science? Show me please. Should I throw out my chair because of "book packed with thought-provoking ideas"? Provoking ideas are good but "high fat will kill you" was once also provoking idea.
    Are there any clinical studies referenced in the book?
  20. Stipetic
    In order to use a standing desk at work, I have to provide evidence that it is indeed healthier than sitting. Can anyone provide good articles/references to that effect? Thank you.
  21. Galina L.
    @Tomas Blesahere,
    Here is just one example from Dr.Mercola website - http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/23/verniko...

    If you don't want to sign to his web-site]
    "Research by the NASA scientist responsible for monitoring the astronauts, shows your body declines rapidly when sitting for long periods"
    "Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, presents a simple yet powerful scientific explanation for why sitting has such a dramatic impact on your health, and how you can simply and easily counteract the ill effects of sitting. -
    Simply standing up over 30 times a day is a powerful antidote to long periods of sitting and is more effective than walking"

    here is another one - http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/05/14/sitting...

    "
    Men who were sedentary for more than 23 hours a week had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who were sedentary less than 11 hours a week, according to a 2010 study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

    A study of more than 17,000 Canadians found that the mortality risk from all causes was 1.54 times higher among people who spent most of their day sitting compared to those who sat infrequently.
    Sitting time is a predictor of weight gain, according to a study of Australian women, even after accounting for calories consumed and leisure time physical activity, such as exercise time.

    The risk of metabolic syndrome rises in a dose-dependent manner depending on your "screen time" (the amount of time you spend watching TV or using a computer). Physical activity had only a minimal impact on the relationship between screen time and metabolic syndrome.

    People who use a computer for 11 hours or more a week, or watch TV for 21 hours or more a week, are more likely to be obese than those who use a computer or watch TV for 5 hours a week or less."

    Usually his posts are well-referenced.

  22. murray
    Out of interest, I wore a heart rate monitor to work one day. This involved walking to the subway with a heavy briefcase (13 minutes), standing at work (19.5 minutes) and sitting at work (20.83 minutes). From this I calculated calories per minute. The result:

    walking with briefcase: 2 kcal per minute
    standing: 1.85 kcal per minute
    sitting: 1.44 kcal per minute

    So standing burns almost as many calories as walking. Little wonder standing jobs have lower rates of diabetes. Presumably the extra burn would help lower blood sugar into normal range, especially after eating a breakfast bagel or muffin upon arriving at work. (It's been many, many years since I did that.)

  23. Stormy
    Well, I'm a nurse on a busy medical floor and find that I stand for 10 hours or more but not necessarily by choice. I also walk a LOT in my job peppered with a lot of squatting, stooping, and moving of human bodies (lol). I used to be a sedentary secretary and would have loved to have a standing desk now that I feel so much better in my current, "standing up all the time" career.
  24. Michelle
    I have to sit as I am inherently lazy. I walk around 6 miles a day and do some strength training, however; I live to sit.

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