In our home, we go through office chairs way to often. Not necessarily because we have worn them out, though we have definitely done that, but because we just can’t find “the one”. You know, the one I’m talking about? The one that solves all your problems when it comes to sitting.
When I “try out” a chair at the store it seems so perfect but then after a week or so of using it I was still experiencing the same back pain I had with the past several chairs. Now I know there are some chairs out there that can adjust and cater all the settings to you and your body, but have you seen the price tag on them? Yikes! So in the meantime, it just sits on my “wish list”.
Last year I was really struggling and really getting sick of the daily back pain I would experience. So I was ready for an experiment. I had seen those treadmill desks…. No I’m not going to be walking on the treadmill while I am teaching, can you imagine? Ha! Ha!
While I don’t have a treadmill desk and have nowhere to put a treadmill desk I did have a laptop desk that I already used while I was teaching. So I simply raised it the highest setting and decided to stand instead of sit while I was teaching.
I started this last January so my experiment lasted through the first part of May (when my semester ended). Let me tell you, it made a HUGE difference! It did take a couple weeks for my body to adjust but eventually, my back ached much less than it had previously. Occasionally I will get tired of standing and will sit down for a moment but for the most part I am now standing. A side benefit to standing is that it also helps me stay more focused.
When I’m not teaching, I’m blogging or creating resources. So I’m at the computer a lot. While I am definitely more comfortable creating while sitting, there are times that I definitely need a standing break. So I will wheel over my laptop desk and place it right in front of my regular desk, place the keyboard on mouse on top and get back to work.
In addition, I try to remember to take a standing/walking break about every hour. My husband got me an Apple Watch for my birthday this summer and I love that it instantly sends me reminders for that especially when I’m in major creation mode. You can easily set alarms or download an app that might send you reminder notifications.
(Sept. 10, 2017)
I wanted to update this post to share my latest that I am loving! My husband bought me a standing desk for my birthday a couple months ago that simply sits on your current desk and can easily be raised if you want to stand or lowered if you want to sit. I show you what it looks like and how it works in the video below. This is the standing desk that I have (shown in video). They do have various sizes available if you have a bigger desk than mine.
So tell me, do you sit or stand when you teach or a mix of both? Do you find that it helps one way or another? And have you found a “magic” chair that has been perfect for you but doesn’t cost an arm and leg? Please share!
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Jennifer, what a great idea! A simple, but elegant solution to your pain.
I’ve been having quite a few back & neck issues in the lead up to lessons. I knew I was sitting or leaning over too much, but that’s where the work needed to happen. Lol.
This week, I noticed that I was alternating between sitting & standing a lot more during lessons with the addition of the music lab time. The unexpected benefit to this was that my back/neck hurt less during lesson. I will certainly be embracing this change over the coming weeks if this is upside!
You will have to let me know how it goes for you! Just be sure to give it a little time because at the beginning your body may want to rebel a little. 😉
I do a combination of both. Sometimes I am playing on my 2nd piano with the students, other times I am standing by them pointing out various things about the music.
I wish I had a 2nd piano right there. Mine is in my lab room. I bet that is so handy to have! That is wonderful!
When I had a large room with two grands, I used to set my laptop on the folded-back lid of the grand being played by the student, along with my lesson notes, and I could stand, sit in a nearby chair, or walk around behind the students while they were playing, to be less of a distraction. I loved the flexibility and I felt very comfortable. Now I am in a tiny bedroom with barely room for one upright and a corner desk. I am flailing and feeling cramped and restricted. I am also getting a sore back. I have been investigating getting one of those changeable height office desks, like in the photo, and I am heartened to see and hear how it is working for you. Thanks for this great post!
Awesome reminders! It’s really good that you are paying attention to this. We only get one back per lifetime! ?
Great idea for a post! Last year I went through the same phase. I was having neck problems and realized all I did was sit all day. I looked into a standup desk. I didn’t want to be hasty about it because they can be expensive (although I have a handy husband who I was on to build me one). I messed around with the desk I have to create a make-shift version to see if I would like it. Around that same time I found out I had a teacher friend who stood the whole time she thought. I actually hadn’t even thought much about that so I also started standing when I teach. I found it was too much to do both (because my building is on a cement slab) so I went back to sitting when I worked at my computer and stand a lot more when I teach. I do have a great little roller office chair I alternate between sitting and standing. I think I got it at Staples for under $100. It doesn’t have arms and it’s a small one so it doesn’t take up a lot of space. That has been the best solution for a teaching chair I’ve ever had. I’ve used all kinds.
Thanks for sharing Amy!
I alternate between sitting and standing. I occasionally sit in my “teaching chair” from Ikea when I’m listening to a performance ready piece, but most often I am moving around or playing duets with the students sitting at my little low stool. I think because it has no back and is low it forces me to sit straight and tall, which in turn results in zero back pain.
Perfect! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!