Investing in a sit stand desk can be a life changing event, especially if your job involves spending hours working at your computer. I’m guessing most of us will have heard about how bad long periods of sitting is for you, and I can almost hear the heads nodding from those of us who have endured this!
As a health professional who specialises in workplace wellness – helping others to be healthier at work – about five years ago I felt I had better walk the talk when it came to too much sitting, so I replaced my traditional ‘seated’ office desk with an electrically adjustable sit stand desk. Initially this was a life changing experience, but disappointingly after about 18 months, I started to get some low/mid back pain, which somewhat ironically, was made worse – not better – by longer periods of sitting. When discussing my aches and pains with my massage therapist, they asked if I was locking my knees when standing at my desk, and sure enough, when I paid attention to this possibility, it did indeed seem to be the issue.
Having identified the problem, I thought it would be easy enough to remedy, but in reality, working out how to change my stance when I was standing in one position and focused on the work in front of me, was easier said than done.
Some months on I was at an International Ergonomics Conference in Melbourne. One of the exhibitors there had some rocking boards called Steppie boards. Made in Denmark, Steppies basically allow you to rock gently from side to side whilst standing at your desk. Problem solved! Using one feels like the standing equivalent of sitting on a Swiss ball and means that you are doing your body a real favour, gently changing position at your desk without having to consciously think about it.
While I was keen to spread the word about Steppies, (see my blog about the benefits of sit stand desks) having to import them in bulk from an Australian supplier was a little cost prohibitive for me as an independent health practitioner. So after selling the small supply I had imported, I continued encouraging people to order them directly and started thinking about/looking for other possible options (there were, and are, round balance boards available, but these are really challenging to stay on without having to clench your toes and leg muscles, which defeats the whole exercise).
Remaining optimistic and knowing that if I kept looking, something suitable would eventually cross my path, just last week, I came across a New Zealand version called the Rockit board. I love supporting innovative local producers, and this company is definitely one of those as they’ve also thought about style, giving it a beautiful laminated oiled wood finish and a cork base to reduce noise in the office.
And if you’ve no call for one at your desk, you can always put one in the break out room for people staff to enjoy exercising on in the morning tea or lunch break. As well as being good for you, they look like a lot of fun. And that’s what I call winning at workplace wellness!