I have been using an adjustable standing desk at my work for the last few years. Prior to the change, I found myself experiencing more frequent back pain, slumping shoulders, and increased hunching as my time in front of a computer screen increased. Couple that with a multi-recycled desk chair and it was a recipe for disaster. Needless to say, my adjustable desk has been a life, and back, saver for the most part. I feel that my back is in better shape, and I am more productive overall. However, that’s not to say it is all perfect.
While getting up and moving throughout the day helps, I still experience some back pain, especially my lower back near my hips. I attribute this to my awkward standing style, where I essentially grind my heels into the ground, put my upper body weight on my think I stand sort of weird as a whole,. When I am just standing around, I noticed that I tend to grind my heels into the ground and put the weight on my lower back. On top of that, I do notice that I will often put my weight almost completely on one leg or the other, which I know can cause a whole issue with alignment. So while my standing desk is overall positive for my back, my standing physics sometimes defeats the positive purpose.
I have been using the FluidStance for a couple of weeks now, and I think it has some really fantastic qualities. In an extremely simplified descriptor it’s a balance board. However, it’s a little more than that. First Let’s take a look at some of their info and research:
- The body is meant to move in three dimensions, and a FluidStance deck enables that movement in any environment. On the FluidStance deck, we see an average range of motion of 23.98 degrees—a clear increase over what we experience while standing in place.
- On average, we saw a 15% increase in heart rate while on the FluidStance deck versus the same population sitting at a desk. This is with a P<.001 statistical analysis (meaning there is a 99.9% accuracy against the general population).
- The Level increases energy expenditure by 19.2% compared to sitting—well over the 10% threshold that qualifies a product for NEAT™ certification (NEAT™ stands for the science of Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, developed by Mayo Clinic). When using your Level,you’re actively burning calories by allowing for more movement throughout the day.
- We designed our decks for natural, continual use. Our patented technology maintains reasonable limits of motion—limiting the dorsiflexion (when your toes are above your heels) and plantarflexion (when your heels are above your toes) to levels that are comparable to walking.
So it’s obviously a little bit more than just a balance board. It’s a tool to aid in the stuff that we hear all the time. We shouldn’t be sitting all day. Accomplished. We shouldn’t be sedentary and should take steps to staying in motion. Check. We should work towards having appropriate posture and form. Yup. FluidStance takes all those reminder flyers you see around large offices and rips them up right out of the gate.
From a personal perspective, I talk about the FluidStance in three categories – Looks, construction, and function.
Looks, as a whole, are probably the least important aspect of fitness gear, in my opinion. While I actually like to be stylish in my wardrobe, when it comes to running or fitness and I find something that works for me,I am not going to let visuals stand in my way. Shoot, I have a crusty old green and blue running belt that probably gets a few chuckles on each run, yet I really like it and don’t really care what others think of it. That being said, FluidStance is a super modern and artistic contraption that looks as good as it works. From the wood top to the aluminum bottom, it’s a sleek design that has opened up a lot of conversations and dialogue with coworkers. I am never disappointed to talk with others about the latest and greatest and running and fitness gear, so this offers a chance to tell the story of FluidStance, and get a little old-fashioned human interaction in the process. In fact, an unintended consequence may be that it is causing a little playfulness in me and I am passing along smiles to others. I have a little competition going as to who can spin in the most continuous circles and people are stopping by periodically to take their turn.
I reviewed the Level FluidStance, which has a wooden top deck (a half-inch!) that is also available in a few finishes. The Level is the “middle ground” of their three options, with the Original having a bamboo deck and the Plane constructed from 100% recycled low-emitting rubber. On the bottom base of the Level, is a crisscrossing pattern made of die-cast military grade aluminum. The Level is actually heavier than I anticipated. It’s completely mobile (though I just leave it under my desk at work), but you can definitely feel the quality of the piece by the attention to detail and not cutting corners and sacrificing performance to cut costs.
I have been using the Level for about 3 weeks now, and can honestly say that FluidStance is delivering on their promises. As a worker, I find that I am more engaged and in-tune when balancing and typing. I didn’t have any issues with mashing away on my keyboard or chiming in on phone conferences. In fact, I felt (slightly) more alert and on top of things, perhaps from being in an active body position. As a runner, I also feel the added benefit of being in motion, rotating and stretching and the board forcing me to keep my weight balanced between my legs instead of putting it all on one or the other. I joke with co-workers that I will start working overtime so that I can get some abs from the FluidStance. While this is hyperbole, I definitely have a more engaged core throughout the day (though not 6-pack creating).
On top of all that, Run Oregon is happy to promote that FluidStance is made in California and the base is made in a solar-powered facility in our southern neighbor of California. All of the excess and scrap aluminum is recycled back into production so that there is no waste as a result of these creations.
Overall, this is a fun little accessory that is as functional as it is beautiful. I think many businesses would do well by equipping their office with the next cool thing.
- FluidStance Balance Board – The Level ($289)
- Other versions run between $200-$500
- 26.5″ long x 12.2″ wide x 2.5″ tall
- Approximate weight: 7lbs, 12oz
- Designed for use under 250 pounds
More about FluidStance:
Many of us find that our daily motion is limited by our workspace, whether we’re tied to our computers, or too busy to venture out for periodic walks. FluidStance decks allow you to engage in natural movement at your standing desk while remaining focused on the task at hand.
We believe that an employee in motion is a better employee. FluidStance provides the tools to create an energetic, collaborative shared workspace, and we offer purchase options for organizations of all sizes.
*”More About” information taken from the company’s website. We like to let their own stories speak for themselves, because we review companies that have real personality and passion about what they do.
Thank you to FluidStance for providing us with a sample board. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.