The Standing Desk Converter that Takes You from Sitting to Standing to Stretching
With technology pervading almost every job or career in existence today, a healthy desk life can seem impossible. Most of us are stuck behind computers and hunched over phones for hours at a time and are developing health issues because of it.
In a previous article I discussed the importance of taking preventative measures when it comes to our posture and health. One way to do this is by using a standing desk.
But there’s a lot to consider when investing in a standing desk. They vary in style, price, practicality, and more. And some are debating whether standing all day is any better than sitting all day. So I say: why should we have to choose?
I’ve always been curious about a standing desk, but never could bring myself to buy one because of that very reason. It seemed impractical and tiring to always stand while working. So instead I invested in various products to enhance my sitting posture. But when Anthrodesk contacted me about their Ergospring Standing Desk Converter, a whole new world opened before me.
A standing desk converter is a platform you can place on top of your desk that allows you to go from sitting to standing while working. This means you can keep your current desk and still get the benefits of a standing desk!
You can sit for twenty minutes, then stand for ten, then sit again. Since using it, I’ve found myself standing more often in everyday life—even while watching tv! And if you’re worried about your feet getting tired, remember there’s always the anti-fatigue mat.
The only downside is that the Ergospring converter is a bit heavy as well as wide. The heaviness ensures that it’s not going to topple over with all your expensive electronics as you adjust the height. And the width is so your entire desk space moves with you when you stand. So in most cases you will want to place it on your desk and not move it again.
The reason I personally see those as cons is because the yogi in me found a third use for this converter: stretching.
If you place the converter on the floor (make sure to remove all of your items from it beforehand), it becomes a stretching desk!
Perhaps I’m the first person in existence to think stretching while working is practical, but hear me out.
There is a style of yoga called Yin Yoga. The idea is to bring fluidity to the body through long holds that allow you to move past the muscle groups and into the connective tissue. But when you think about how often we sit and hunch over screens, we are practicing yin yoga all the time—just not a very healthy version. The version where our shoulders round forward, our lower backs curve, and our necks jut out. Ouch!
By putting this standing desk converter on the floor, you can still get work done while changing your sitting position in various ways. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
Wide legged forward fold (Prasarita Padottanasana): sit up on a bolster, towel, block, or blanket so your hips tilt slightly forward and then extend the legs out to either side. You should be able to maintain an upright spine easily, so increase the height of what you’re sitting on if need be. Inhale to lengthen the spine and lean slightly forward while maintaining a straight back. Then come back up. You can experiment with remaining upright or leaning to enhance the stretch as you work. You can also place support under the knees and play with flexing or pointing the toes as well as bending one leg in.
Easy Pose (Sukhasana): This is basically sitting cross-legged. I also recommend propping your hips on something for this pose. Cross your legs at the shins, widen the knees, and either bring the feet in closer to each shin or keep the feet further away and flex them to protect the knees. Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and then switch the cross of your legs.
*Remember: everyone has different external rotation based off hip flexibility and also bone structure. Never force yourself to go farther than comforbtale. Modify the pose to suit you, not the other way around.
Hero’s pose (Virasana): Start with your knees hip-width apart on the floor and then lean back to sit. Especially for working, I recommend a modified version where you sit up on a block or blanket. So instead of sitting fully between the legs, keep your hips propped so your knees don’t feel as much pressure. Feel free to experiment as you work with how low your hips go and how acutely your knees are bent. You can also place padding underneath or behind your knees or under your ankles.
A challenge of stretching while working is to maintain awareness of the body even as you are caught up in the mind. You don’t want to accidentally stay in a pose until your legs have fallen asleep and then try to stand. So set a timer for each pose to prevent injury, and start slowly—you can always add more time to the clock.
My hope is that Anthrodesk will develop a smaller, lighter version of their standing desk converter that’s more portable and makes desk stretching even more of a possibility. But in the meantime, anyone who is hesitant to invest in a standing desk and spends a lot of time working at a regular desk should consider making this converter a permanent addition to their working life. It’s constructed from high quality and sturdy materials and well-designed with an easy press handle to adjust the height.
Have you used a standing desk converter? And, if so, would you consider stretching while working?