A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Keven Moore: Standing desk converter healthy alternative to sitting in chair all day at work

For thousands of years, the vast majority of humans spent most of their lives on their feet.

Flexispot standing desk converter in Moore’s office.

In the mid-20th century, however, rapid technological advances (cars, TVs, computers, etc.) began decreasing the physical activity demands, and many of us have become increasingly more sedentary.

This lifestyle change can be attributed to many health issues from sore muscles, neck and back pain, obesity, diabetes, poor circulatory issues, heart disease….etc.  Muscles burn less fat and blood flows more slowly during long periods of sitting, which then allows fatty acids to more easily clog the heart. Many in the medical community will call this health crisis “sitting disease.”

The fact is Americans are getting fatter — whether that’s because they’re eating too much, not getting enough exercise, or some other factor – has been a matter of debate.  But sitting behind a desk all day has definitely contributes to our country’s decline in health.

According to Dr. Timothy Church, a leading author in exercise and obesity research, and the chief medical officer at ACAP Health Consulting, “In 1960, 1 out of 2 Americans had a job that was essentially exercise. That’s plummeted. Now, conservatively, it’s less than 20 percent.”

Unlike my wife who is an RN and working 12 hour shifts on her feet, I find myself in the office sitting in a chair for a good part of my day, on days when I am not in the field trying to keep the world safe as a risk management and safety professional.

After writing “Weighing the pros and cons of using standing desks in the workplace” back in November of 2017, I was contacted by Ted Kang, the Business Development Manager for Flexispot.  He offered to send me a promotional adjustable standing desk converter to pilot their workstation at no cost to me.  He didn’t attach any conditions to the offer, but I knew that he was hoping that I would write a review of his product.

At my age and with a nine-year history of lifting over a million boxes at UPS back during my college days, I have always had some minor back issues so this offer was very appealing.  I have recognized that after sitting for prolonged periods of time my back would begin to ache.

The offer was just too good to pass up, considering that I was already looking to purchase one after writing my previous article. After reviewing the options on their website  I ordered the model that fit my desk, which retailed for only $299.99.

Photos courtesy of Flexispot

The adjustable stand-up desk arrived at my office within a week, and it only took me 15 minutes to unpack it, assemble it and have it functional on my desk.  In fact, it took me longer to arrange my desk and move the monitor and keyboard than it did to assemble it.

In my profession I have seen employers try to address ergonomically related complaints from employees sitting at a workstation, and most will only focus on the location and position of the computer and/or the chair. They usually don’t consider addressing the employee’s body position.

Often times employers will simply order a new chair as their sole means to correct the problem.

However when you talk with an ergonomist, trained safety professional or loss control consultant, many will suggest applying job rotation into the mix, which is a means to apply an administrative control to minimize the exposure.

With any ergonomic hazard that cannot be re-engineered, job rotation is always recommended so that the employee can change up their body position and use a different muscle group to reduce the cumulative trauma effect of doing something the same way over and over again.

What I have discovered using my adjustable standing desk converter,  is that it is  the perfect way to implement job rotation without having to move an employee  to a different workstation or sending them to a different job that may or may not be available.

Since test piloting the Flexispot adjustable standing desk converter I feel as though I have more energy and that I am more focused.  My back doesn’t ache as often as it used to.  It hasn’t entirely stopped my occasional back pains, but it definitely doesn’t compound the situation now.

Many of us that work in an office environment have been taught to identify our productive hours and to tackle our more important tasks during those peak-production hours, and to avoid them during your low peak hours — which tend to be after lunch or towards the end of your work day for me.

My least-productive work hour has always been immediately after lunch. By using my adjustable standing desk converter I have been able to combat my after lunch fatigue, instead of rushing to the coffee maker in our break room.

Unfortunately I can’t profess that I have lost any weight after acquiring my new workstation –  but utilizing the adjustable standing desk converter whenever I notice a little fatigue beginning to set in has allowed me to stay more productive.

After testing the standing adjustable desk for the past six months, I can firmly say that they are a positive and healthy way to work. When I first began using my Flexispot adjustable desk I would often times forget to stand enough throughout the day.  I realized that I wasn’t using it as much as I had intended, but after getting an Apple watch I am now reminded to stand periodically several times  throughout the day.

Whenever I feel the need or am reminded by my smart watch to stand, I can just reach over and grab the lever and I’m standing up within a second or two —it’s just that easy to raise or lower.

Styles vary and if you choose to buy one you will need to find a style that fits your needs and desk size.  These Flexispot adjustable standing desk converters can accommodate multiple screens if necessary and there is even a slot for your cellphone or tablet to rest just below the computer monitor.

Flexispot even offers a Deskcise Pro , which is an all-in-one desk bike that allows you to cycle and burn those extra calories while working from your desk.  This product retails for only $499.

No matter how active or inactive a person may be, an adjustable standing desk converter is ideal for any lifestyle or job that requires a person to remain seated the majority of the day.  To keep my journalistic integrity intact, there are several vendors on the market and I would suggest that you shop for the best deal to fit your need.

Looking into the crystal ball of the future, I do see many more employers beginning to utilize these adjustable standing desk converters to better promote a more productive and healthier workforce for the office environment.

At some point in time as our nanny state mentality continues to evolve, we may even see OSHA start to get onboard with these more active workstations and may even make them mandatory to improve upon the health and well-being of employees, because they do work when used properly.

Be Safe My Friends.

Keven Moore works in risk management services and is an expert witness. He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky, a master’s from Eastern Kentucky University and 25-plus years of experience in the safety and insurance profession. He lives in Lexington with his family and works out of both the Lexington and Northern Kentucky offices. Keven can be reached at kmoore@roeding.com.

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