Just coming off my sixth day with a stand up desk. Why? Studies now show sitting is a lethal activity. What? Yep. If we sit more than 9 hours a day, we could be inviting the Reaper before our time. If you’re like me and you have a “sitting job” (which they say is not affected by a daily work out, by the way), then we MUST get up and get moving. If you must be on the computer as I am, our only solution is to stand more while working and that’s why standing desks will become the next big thing. Yes, you might be an early adopter now, but why not start a health trend in your office? They say we mirror the activities of those around us so by being a good example for others, we can turn this sitting epidemic around.
A few good articles to read on the subject:
THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF SITTING From WSJ with a great infographic
The Mayo Clinic says: “Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.” YIKES. My soft middle confirms part of these findings. Ahem.
This article from Huffington Post includes a slide show with some photos of alternatives to sitting, including as basic as putting a chair on your table and working from there. You can connect your laptop to a monitor as a way to be ergonomic.
I lucked out by being able to convert a regular writing desk to a dual sitting/standing desk by moving my big Mac monitor from the top of the desk to the “writing level” when my son wants to be on the computer or when I need a break from standing. (Not good to crane your neck up or down.) Since my desk has a pull out keyboard drawer, it provides the right ergonomics from either position. Use simple solutions like stacking on books to get the right height for you. You’ll also want an anti-fatigue mat like one here.
If I hadn’t been able to convert my writing desk, I would’ve likely bought this one online:
Safco Muv Stand-up Adjustable Height Workstation
Not only do we burn more calories when we stand but we automatically move more. Yes, I get antsy standing, which is okay because I’ll actually go do something for a bit like pick up the house or turn on some music and dance – things I wouldn’t do if I was in the zone sitting all day. Since we’ll have more energy from being up, we shouldn’t have that afternoon slump, either.
ALSO, if we’ve been getting real about what we eat and drink, we’ll be fueling our bodies with clean/green/lean food to keep us healthy at the cellular level. I’ve also found I’m THIRSTIER from standing most of the day, which makes me drink me water – something I have trouble doing.
I’m thinking this MIGHT be the biggest illumination and intention we can make this year out of our 52 weeks of getting real – esp. if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Another motivation to get moving and eat clean might be to check out your BMI with this online calculator. I know I was scared to do that last year. As someone who at the time didn’t even own a scale, I was rather shocked that I was closer to the edge of the “normal” weight for my height (5’6″). Remember that range is within about 10 pounds on either side which can make someone look completely different. That motivated me to lose 5 pounds last year and so now I’m in the middle of the range for normal, which makes me feel a lot better. Plus how you LOOK is really not the only factor in good health. Plenty of thin people eat crappy diets and don’t exercise and sit all day. But I knew I wasn’t closer to the middle because I was simply being lazy. I lost those pounds by making better eating choices and now I think I’ll naturally lose a few more pounds by standing and moving more. Not a “diet”, just a lifestyle. We’ll see. The important thing is to give it awareness and make a goal that feels right for you. (Perhaps with your doctor’s input.)
Another factor besides BMI alone is where the fat sits. Waist circumference plays a huge role in heart disease so if you’re a woman and your WC is 35″ or more or for a man 40″ or more, consider that being a huge motivator in a lifestyle change. As someone who used to drink diet coke every day for 20 years, I can say YOU WILL HAVE EXTRA BULGE AROUND YOUR MIDDLE AND GUT IF YOU DRINK IT. When I stopped drinking it, it’s amazing how much that helped. That being said, my waist is 31″ so I hope I can lose a couple of inches around my middle this year with more regular exercise.
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What do you say? Shall we kick some butt on this?