Please Stand Up

Photo by jsmjr

For the last year or so I have been reading about how terrible it is for your health to sit at a desk all day. Working out for an hour a day cannot undo all the damage to your health and body that sitting all day at a computer causes (see this very disturbing article from the Mayo Clinic).

A few years ago I tried sitting on a yoga ball at work to no great benefit – it turns out I can slouch on anything. It also turns out that I am incredibly lazy, and so would routinely forget to do simple and recommended things like stand when on conference calls, etc. Other suggestions, like doing “walking meetings” or taking mini-walk breaks every hour just seemed impracticable, especially on busy days (I often forget to even go the bathroom when I am at work because I get so focused on what I am doing).

Some friends who work at fancy companies have been lucky enough to get standing desks or treadmill desks for their offices/cubicles and some have even built their own at-home versions. Since I don’t work at a fancy company, and actually have quite a nice rosewood desk in my office, I didn’t feel right about asking work to buy me a new desk or to ruin the desk I have with a custom retrofit.

However, last December I read a New York Times article that proved to be the tipping point for me.

First, the article outlined some of the key health the issues associated with sitting for extended periods of time including:

  • Back Pain
  • Diabetes
  • Slowing metabolosim (read: weight gain)

Second, it presented some of the benefits associated with standing while working:

  • Increased metabolism (read: less working out required)
  • Better ergonomics (i.e., reduction in repetitive motion injuries and the associated neck and back issues)
  • Higher productivity

Finally, it provided simple, practical and relatively inexpensive solutions to transform your standard desk into a standing desk:

I opted for the ErgoDesktop, Kangaroo Pro. It was cheap enough that my work was totally willing to purchase it for me, and it sits right on top of my existing desk (no renovations needed).

The Kangaroo Pro took approximately 10 minutes to install (it comes fully assembled and you just need to attach your monitor). I fully expected that I would find standing awkward or exhausting, but have experienced the opposite. As long as I wear “sensible” shoes (or go barefoot when I am wearing heels), I feel great standing all day and don’t leave the office with that icky feeling that I used to have from sitting all day. I move around a little all the time, and generally seem to be using better posture and ergonomics while working on my computer. What is also really great about the Kangaroo Pro is that you can easily adjust it up and down, so if your body isn’t happy standing all day, you can lower it and sit for a while.

For all of us struggling to fit in exercise and movement into our days, I totally recommend this as a baseline way to improve your health and fitness, as well as your happiness and productivity at work. Because I mean, really, who needs to work more with less to show for it?

And besides now you have the right to sing Eminem’s Slim Shady song all day long in your head.

 

Reprinted with permission from Mommytasker.  

Anona Dutton is a life-long athlete and full-time working mother of two. She writes to inspire busy moms and families to lead active, healthy lifestyles at mommytaskers.blogspot.com.

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