Stand Up And Work: VariDesk

by Joanne on February 20, 2014

The weather is just not cooperating this winter is it?  It’s so cold, then it warms up,  AND RAINS, then goes cold again AND FREEZES in the road and on the paths.  Does it seem as if I am complaining?  It’s tough to remain positive this season but we try.

Not much can be done about body aches and pains incurred by running on hard, cold pavement, uneven snow packed pathways or icy, slippery routes.  But I can do something about the rest of the day.  I can move and stretch and hopefully cure those painful hips.

The greatest invention since sliced bread!


Sitting is a health hazard.  In an article I read from Guardian (among many others), sitting for excessive amounts of time can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and premature death.  Just because we exercise doesn’t mean the risk is reduced. 

When we are sedentary for extended periods of time, our body goes into energy storing mode which increases resistance to insulin (insulin absorbs glucose).  The result is an increased level of glucose in the blood stream, reduced levels of good cholesterols and increased levels of bad cholesterols.  Obesity, diabetes, heart disease are the result. 

But that’s not all, especially for the runner. Read on!

So many of us have desk jobs which require 50% to 70% of our time sitting. That percentage isn’t only at work but also includes our relaxation time at the end of a work day when we believe we should unwind by watching TV or catching up on social media at the computer. A body in motion can use 4 times as much energy as a body at rest.

In the research of the Archives of Internal Medicine, more than 200,000 people aged 45 or over found that those who sat for 11 or more hours a day had a 40% increase in risk of dying over the next three years, compared with those who sat for only four hours a day. The study took into account how healthy they were, as well as their levels of physical activity and weight.

When we are inactive for a long time, evidenced by the fact that Ted complains of back ache when he sleeps in on weekends, the result is back pain, sore hips, and general body aches and pains.

In this article from Runners Forum, it is discussed how prolonged inactivity or sitting can result in running injuries.

…According to Matt Fitzgerald in his book “Brain Training for Runners”, sitting causes major muscle imbalances whereby some muscles become extremely tight and others extremely weak. According to Fitzgerald and, these imbalances can cause pain in the lower back, reduce fitness performance, and promote injuries like runner’s knee and IT band syndrome among many others.

Sitting causes only some muscles to contract or flex while never allowing the other balancing muscles to do anything. According to Fitzgerald and, the most common sign of muscle imbalance due to sitting a lot (which is nearly all of us) is weakness or tightness in the following muscle pairs: deep abdominal muscles and hip flexors, buttocks and hips, and hamstrings and quadriceps.
Furthermore, these signs of muscle imbalances can quickly transform into a number of injuries and running performance reducers including, but not limited to:

  • Abnormally tight hamstrings and hip flexors which don’t allow for the full range of motion required for an efficient stride (gait).
  • Tendonitis of the hip flexors due to tight hip flexors.
  • Patellorfemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee) due to the lack of strength of the quadriceps and its inability to track your knee properly. The opposing muscle to the quadriceps is the hamstring which tightens while sitting.
  • Weak buttocks and outer hip muscles cause instability in the hips, knees and pelvis which can cause illiotibial band syndrome (IT Band Syndrome) among many other related hip and pelvis injuries.
  • Weak abdominal muscles, caused by sitting, allow the pelvis to tilt forward while running and can result in lower back pain and hip flexor tendonitis.

I found a solution!   The Varidesk!   For a couple of years I wished I had the type of job which would allow me to use a desk treadmill. 

treadmill desk

For one, they were too expensive and two, my job just doesn’t allow this type of set up.

The other day, I came across an advertisement for VariDesk.  A simple work station that sits on top of your current desk allowing you to work from a standing position.   There is an app which can be installed on your computer that pops up to alert you when to stand (for 15 minutes) and when to sit (for 45 minutes).   I am SO LOVING THIS!

The VariDesk for sitting:

Vari down1

The VariDesk for standing

Vari desk up1

When I stand, I simply squeeze the tabs at the side to raise the desk, move the keyboard and mouse to the top riser and … IT FEELS SO GOOD!  I’m standing straight and tall and my typing is better Open-mouthed smile

Easy to install

vari directions1

I waited until everyone left after work to remove it from the two boxes it was shipped in then, the next day, I lifted it, again by myself, to my desk and put it into position. Really easy!

For $300., this is such a great deal.  It’s build very sturdy, feels strong and well put together.

Do you suffer from any of the aches and pains listed above?  

Do you try to move around while working or generally try to remain active during the day?

How to do you remind yourself to move when you have been sitting for a prolonged period of time?

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  • At 2014.02.20 15:19, Heather said:

    I love this! I know a few people with standing desks but I think it would hurt my back to stand all day – this is such a better solution. I’ll have to think about it…..

    • At 2014.02.20 17:20, misszippy1 said:

      So great that you got one of these! I have been standing and working for several years now and even have a treadmill desk. My body appreciates it. Now for me, the hardest thing is sitting for any period of time. I could never go back to it!

      • […] Wilcox at the health blog Apple Crumbles is so impressed with VARIDESK that she called it “the greatest invention since sliced […]

        • At 2014.02.27 18:58, AJ Everton said:

          Wow, I wish I had this when I was working 8 hours a day sitting down! I had my alarm set for at least every hour so everyone in my office could get up and take a walk around the building. That still wasn’t enough, I was longing for a stand up desk! Thanks for the post!

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