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Saturday, 3 October 2015

Defy "Death by Sitting"

Varidesk Pro Plus 30
My new office setup... I'm the happy owner of a Varidesk!
How's that for a topic today??

As someone who has been using computers for thirty years for both work and play, you can bet that I was more than a little alarmed when I heard that the new "silent killer" was the simple act of sitting... and that that doesn't change even if you partake of regular exercise.

I mean, really, it was alarming enough that my butt was flattening out with all this sitting in front of a computer, but to be told that we are hurrying ourselves into our graves by sitting so much?

A couple of Christmases ago, I asked my other half for an exercise ball to sit on. I am actually able to balance on it while on my knees, so whenever I do use it (it's under my desk all the time), I'm sure it does my core muscles good. Unfortunately, the ball that I have is just a bit small so that I am not at the right height for typing or viewing. For a short time, I can get by, but it's not my objective to exchange one set of potential problems for another.

Earlier this year, I jury-rigged myself a sit/stand solution for my desk. I purchased a $15 laptop "bed desk" and put my computer on top of it (my computer is an all-in-one unit that's easily moved). I would then tilt the monitor up or down according to whether I was sitting or standing. An old cassette (remember those?) storage cabinet was used as a support for my keyboard and mouse when I toiled standing up. It sort of worked, but there really wasn't enough room on top of the cassette cabinet and it really wasn't high enough, resulting in my wrists needing to bend in order to type. While I appreciated being able to stand periodically, it wasn't a long term solution.

I saw an ad for the Varidesk in the in-flight magazine on my way home from Halifax in June and determined that since I was going back to work part-time, I would bite the bullet and get myself one of these. It's not cheap by any means. With taxes and shipping, mine was just a couple bucks under $500! (US pricing on Amazon is $375, which — given current exchange rates — pretty much makes sense.) And while I've been more than satisfied with its use so far, it's not perfect. Given its size, this thing has taken over my desk; I no longer have room to spread out a magazine, let alone pattern pieces. (Although I can put the keyboard onto the higher level to move it out of the way if I'm at the desk and not really using the computer.)

It's not the most attractive thing when pulled up (especially for those with a lot of wired peripherals), but when in the down position, I'd call it "executive stylish".

Now — to refocus back on sewing — how much sitting do you do when engaged in sewing (and other handicraft) activities? For those of you who are prolific crafters, how many hours a day do you spend on your butt?

You probably stand to cut and press fabric, but what about hand-sewing? Is it a habit to curl up in your favourite chair whenever you pick up needle and thread? Maybe it's time to reconsider that idea. And I know that you knitters, crochet-ers and needlepoint people like to do your thing and watch TV at the same time. Do you ever stand while doing so?

Of course, how easily this can be done depends on the work surfaces you have at your disposal. For example, what's under your sewing machine? I'm guessing it's not this:

IKEA Bekant Sit/Stand Desk
Bekant sit/stand desk...image courtesy of IKEA

This is the IKEA BEKANT desk, one of the more economically priced adjustable desks out there. (It actually moves up and down at the press of a button.) I think it would be neat to run a sewing machine while standing, don't you? Especially if it can help ensure that we can continue sewing for many more years.

Tell me how you're reducing the amount of sitting that you do.


  1. Having read about the dangers of standing, I've been thinking of purchasing a height adjustable desk. I sit way too much!!! As I normally do, I'm still procrastinating. My son has one and it's really easy to adjust the height. I'd lose room on my desk, but the health benefits would be worth it. Not cheap, though.

  2. I stand to sew! I have never sat at my machine. I've got them both mounted to tables that are modified to be taller. Actually, it's just a sheet of plywood mounted to a smaller table. The plywood has cut outs so my machines are flatbed mounted AND I have the whole 4'x8' top for quilting space.
    For those that want to adjust the height of their tables for CHEAP, THE CHEAPEST WAY I KNOW IS TO CUT LENGTHS OF pVC pipe that will fit on legs and add that to them. I built mine on wheels, but I had a lot of supplies to work with on hand already and made do with the stuff I had.
    I've loooooooong known the danger of being idle. I ALWAYS stood at work when I worked in a cubicle, I even walked around the grounds while I,ate lunch. My sitting time was during my drive to and from work only...and while I slept. Otherwise, I'm on m feet, even f just standing.
    I don't watch tv or movies, so I'm not wasting away my life on junk there.
    Rochelle, the desk is very nice and I rather like it. Never heard of a varied so but it is rathe nice looking to me.


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