Stand Up, ‘Surf’ At Your Desk

Two years ago, sitting at my office desk, I felt a familiar twinge in my back brought on from typing and assuming the “hunch” position over a computer for way too long. I stood up, moved to a higher table surface, and I haven’t sat down since.

My work day now includes six to eight hours of standing. Far from adding fatigue, standing seems to give me more energy, and studies now cite health benefits associated with standing versus sitting on your butt.

Stand up to work! Level product (foreground) adds balance component

A whole industry has bloomed from the trend, including auto-elevating desks, computer stands, and special mats for placing beneath your feet. I use a simple wood shelf as my main desk, a pine four-poster bought at Ikea that adjusts to offer varying surface heights.

This month, a new product came across my radar called the Level. It’s a platform with a wood deck and an uneven metal undercarriage made by the company FluidStance. Step on it and you’re forced to balance as you stand and type or talk on the phone.

The Level is not meant to be a challenge. Unlike similar products I’ve used in the past, the Level adds only subtle instability underfoot. You can sometimes forget it is there.

But the company touts it adds “just enough motion to get your heart rate up a bit,” citing around a 15 percent increase in beats per minute. This burns more calories and engages enough that you won’t lock your knees or stand in the same position for minutes (or hours) on end.

Bottom view: The Level has a curved, artful cutout frame

After a few days of using it, I can endorse the Level as a valid stand-up desk accessory. As a bonus, the product looks sleek and is appropriate in any office setting — it’s more a solid piece of furniture than a whacky fitness device you need to hide in the corner.

It measures about 26 inches long and a foot wide. The platform is designed for anyone up to 300 pounds, the company notes.

Made in the USA with premium wood and metal, the Level does not come cheap. It’s priced like a piece of furniture at $269 for the base model.

You don’t need anything fancy to stand up at work. Items like the Level have their place, but a basic raised desk surface with a computer on top — and no chair in sight! — will get you going on the stand-up train.

Hop on and try the chair-less work day. You might never sit down again.

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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