I Don’t Want A Standing Desk, I Prefer My Exercise Bike
There’s endless talk on the blogs about the dangers of sitting often linked to the benefits of a standing desk. I agree completely with the former, but the idea of standing still for long stretches of the day fills me with horror. In my experience there’s nothing worse for me than standing still, humans aren’t designed for standing, we are designed for walking. Unfortunately you don’t see any where near as much attention to walking desks for good reason, it takes a special kind of concentration and dexterity to be able to walk and use a keyboard at the same time and if you look up the prices of walking desks a special kind of budget! Not my kind of budget that’s for sure!
Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I pay a ridiculous amount of attention to moving, it’s critical to controlling my daily pain levels and keeping flares at bay, I need moderate exercise like others need food, 3-4 times a day, but I need to avoid intense exercise too. I’ve got an old exercise bike that’s been stored in my office for many years gathering dust. After reading about the dangers of sitting in the book Get Up!: Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It it’s presence started to loom ever larger. Eventually I pulled it out of it’s neglected corner and tried riding it for a few days but was frustrated by the wasted time, I could use my remote and watch some videos on the office big screen, but all too often I had to stop to use my laptop as something popped into my head, or I wanted to look something up, take notes or respond to a message.
Then I realised that if I folded the handlebars down horizontal I could balance a kitchen tray on them and put my laptop or iPad there, better! but precarious. So a month or so ago I took the plunge and fitted a permanent ‘table’ to the bars and I’ve not looked back.
This is how I have things setup now:
- I still store the bike off in a corner out of the way
- When I want to use it I carry it (good strength exercise) across the room so it’s facing my big 27” desktop screen
- I pop my laptop on the non slip surface of the table, which is cable tied to the handle bars locked in horizontal position
- I use Mouse Without Borders (a fantastic app) which allows my laptop to easily control my desktop with it’s big screen. I can stop and start videos, find new videos, anything I want basically
- So I sit on the bike watching company briefings, tech conferences, training videos, entertainment videos, participating in conference calls, watch TV, all on the big screen
- My laptop is right in front of me and using Mouse Without Borders I can toggle the keyboard between both computers instantly. That means on my laptop I can take notes, look things up, scan my email, read my RSS news feeds. I have my phone and iPad mini on the bike’s table too.
- Sometimes I don’t want the distraction of the laptop on the table so I will just sit back and use my iPad or pop the desktop’s Thinkpad Bluetooth keyboard on the table and control things with it’s built in mouse and media keys
It’s been a revelation, I’m moving almost twice as much as I used to on working days, getting natural pain relief, burning more calories which allows me too eat more food. Eating more food is especially important because I follow The Wahls Protocol, a high nutrient diet, for health reasons and I just can’t get enough nutrients if I’m sitting around all day.
Over the last couple of months I’ve gradually moved closer to a system that works pretty well for me when working from home:
- Swim first thing in the morning for 10-15 minutes, this works mostly the upper body joints and the knees
- Stretch two or three times a day, mostly focussed on my shoulders, hamstrings and achilles tendons
- 5-10,000 steps of walking before lunch listening to podcasts
- Then I will sit for an hour or so
- Seated Vipassana meditation mid-day, by this time I’m hurting all over so I can really focus on the pain and embrace it
- 60+ minutes on the exercise bike during the afternoon
- More sitting
- The rest of the steps I need to get to 10,000 in the afternoon or early evening
- More sitting
- Lots of pottering around the house and garden throughout the day while taking breaks from sitting
- Sometimes another 30+ minutes on the exercise bike during the evening
- More sitting
- Floating in the bath
When I’m sitting I try to change chair types and change position every 45 minutes or so, so that I keep my back moving and challenged. Of course I still gets flares and when those happen everything has to be scaled back a lot, but I still try to move.
I wrote this post sitting in Caffe Nero after a lovely cycle ride against the wind to Lytham (hence the picture) followed by a quick swim. My legs are close to perfect today, my arms are horrible, hence the emphasis on ‘quick’ swim