Are you sitting down?
As if the news isn’t bad enough these days, now your office chair may be trying to kill you.
Sitting all day long has been linked to a whole host of ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
A study of 63,048 males ages 45-64 found that participants sitting more than four hours a day were significantly likely to have chronic disease, according to this study cited by the National Institutes of Health.
You really gotta stand up
Even athletes don’t get off easy. If they’re parked behind a desk for a good part of the day, they run the risk of having health problems, regardless of how much they exercise in their off-hours (as Runner’s World notes).
Yes, I know it’s your job to sit and stare at a computer screen all day! What are you supposed to do?
My answer: Stand up already.
I’ve been standing up at work long before this research was making headlines.
I had been sitting at a desk for 30 years. But unless the work at my desk was terribly engaging (which sometimes it’s not), I used to find myself mentally wandering off, drifting off, and even nodding off. Unacceptable!
The joys of the stand up desk
knew (I know) that I’m not getting enough sleep at night, and there’s really no good way to correct that. I didn’t want to resort to consuming heavier amounts of caffeine. So I decided to try standing.
My first stand-up desk was simply an old metal office desk elevated on two-by-fours, which were painted black to match the rest of the desk. It looked kind of strange, but it did the job (and it was a great conversation piece when someone would visit my office the first time.)
Article Continues Below
Struggle to keep track of relevant laws and manage updates to your HR policies to comply?
- ∙ Access to custom applicability report
- ∙ Free policy template of your choice
- ∙ Exclusive benchmarking insight report
Now, I stand all day. I’ve done it for years. I love it. My productivity is about 300 percent better, and there’s zero drifting off or nodding off in the afternoons. I highly recommend standing.
I have an elevated workstation that is a step up from my original invention, but it does the same job. I do have chairs in my office for visitors, but most days I rarely sit down. The key to standing comfortably all day is a good cushion, such as a rubberized floor mat, under your feet.
Some other things you can do
Besides feeling more alert, there are other side benefits. I can curl weights while I’m reading a long boring article, or I can do deep knee bends. I feel more agile, younger, and healthier.
If you don’t think you can stand all day, you should at least take frequent breaks. Set up automatic reminders if you have to. Go for a short walk or a drink of water.
Or, get up and talk to someone in the next office rather than calling or emailing them. Just walking around can give you new perspective on a problem.
Don’t just sit there.