All about that BASE

This is a follow up to my last blog about my new stand/lean stool. I’ve now been using the stool for a couple of weeks, and I’ve learned a lesson that I thought I should share….

On the first day that I used the stool, I raved about how great I felt at the end of the day. That was Monday. I was off on Tuesday, and I worked only in the morning on New Year’s Eve. But by noon on the Wednesday, my feet were killing me and I was eager to get into my car and go home. What was going on?

The only thing I could think of was that my footwear was different. On Monday, I was wearing a flat boot. On Wednesday, I wore boots with a 2” heel – modest by most women’s standards, and not even that high for me. Could that be it? On Friday, I came to work in a different pair of flat boots, and – case solved – indeed my legs felt fine at the end of the day. Turns out pop singer Meghan Trainor already knew – it IS all about the base!

I decided that some of our readers might benefit from some tips for introducing standing at work, in addition to the “gradual hardening” that I suggested in our last blog. Here is my advice:

  1. Choose footwear that you would wear if you knew you were going to be walking all day. Perhaps one day you might be able to stand all day in 4” heels, but give yourself a break during the first couple of months. If you can’t bring yourself to wear flats to work, take them to the office and slip them on while you work.
  2. If your table is adjustable, make sure you raise it when your footwear is thicker. Here’s how to adjust the table for keyboard work. Standing perpendicular to the table, your forearm should just rest on the work surface, with your elbow at the side of your body, and both shoulders relaxed. (I’m not a big fan of selfies, but I took one to show you….see above.) The top of the glass part of your screen ideally should be at eye height, and the keyboard should be flat on the worksurface. (I’ve got a compromise going on in the photo, with my laptop. If you have a keyboard/mouse on the desk, and a separate screen, you should be able to get it just right.)
  3. If the worksurface lowers to seated height, it should also be at elbow height in the seated position.
  4. If the worksurface adjusts easily (mine doesn’t), you should also lower it to elbow height when you are leaning on the stool.
  5. Remember what your mother told you….that you should “stand up straight”. When you are standing (not using the lean stool), make an effort to stand with weight distributed equally on both feet, so that you are not doing “the pelican”. Habitually putting all your weight on one leg will lead to hip and back discomfort.

And if you’re looking for incentive, standing at work will burn more calories every day. (Not that you should “worry about your size”…standing all day won’t turn you into a “stick figure silicone Barbie doll”!) If you don’t eat extra, you could lose 8-20 pounds per year, just by standing to work. ( Of course, standing has many other long term health benefits, but in this season of post-holiday resolutions, help with weight loss does seem attractive to many of us.

(“All about that bass” was written by Kevin Kadish and Meghan Trainor.)

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