You know I’ve been on a mission (tirade?) to get you sitting less. No fewer than 5 pages of Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body Shaping Workouts are devoted to the problems of sedentarism, the hazards of sitting too much – and the easy fix.
Which is why I couldn’t wait to share with you what I just did in my home office and studio. I told you that I’ve been researching stand-up desk stations, and have been looking for one that would allow me to alternate standing and sitting with ease. Something with variable height.
The search had been going on and still there I was with a chair at my desk, having to remind myself to get up regularly from writing to combat active coach potato syndrome. [pullquote position=”right”]”An active couch potato is someone who does their workouts and then sits for extended periods the rest of the time” ~ Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts pg. 24.[/pullquote]
Here’s the exciting news: I have been so diligent about taking breaks from sitting and standing more that my body started to crave it – standing that is!
Let me explain.
Stand and deliver
Last weekend I was booked for two solid days of seminar events. At each, I was scheduled to present, for a brief segment at the CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Project) regional meetings and the following day for a full presentation at Vegan Professionals Boot Camp. Actually, this turned out to be more fun than even anticipated. The event planners asked me at the last minute if I would please provide fitness breaks a la Fit Quickies style. Um, yeah! (See photo).
At each of these two events, I was also scheduled to be an audience participant. You know what that means. Seated in rows. For hours.
I decided to strategically opt for the back row on both days. This was perfect for the stand-up sit-down rhythm I’ve been cultivating. I found that after about 20 minutes of ‘sit’ time, I just naturally wanted to stand – usually for 30 – 40 minutes or so at a stretch.
My body was doing it for me! I just had to strategize location so I wouldn’t be ‘standing’ in the front row in front of everyone else.
Easy. Back row.
Do it now
That settled it. Back in my home office after the weekend events, I knew I just couldn’t take it sitting down any more. Research ensued once again for options but it still meant I was having to offset the sit time with standing, which my body just seemed to want.
So I scavenged the furniture graveyard in the garage and found a credenza from an old desk that was just about the right height. I needed to elevate my desk by about 12 inches to be a ‘stander’. 30 minutes later, I had what you see now in the picture at the top of the page. It turned out to be the perfect height as ergonomic guidelines suggest a standing station should have your elbows resting on desktop with 90 degrees of bend. I also elevated the monitor so that I could keep my gaze level, for optimal anatomical alignment.
It’s working like a charm. I even have a foot rest allowing me to shift weight from my back as desired. I’m now looking for a chair that is of enough height so I can take a seated rest now and then if I want. But if the choice is between being stuck standing or stuck sitting, I’m find that stuck standing is a far preferable option.
My new command center and surprise bonuses
My new work station profile has delivered in pleasing ways I hadn’t expected. For months, I’ve been standing during every radio appearance and teleclass. Sitting pools circulation in the lower extremities and makes the calves, your peripheral pump, check out of the action. Standing improves the energy flow throughout the body. I even noticed my voice would be different standing. Now, that feeling of command and creative energy is accessible whenever I’m at my desk. Productivity and clarity of mind are improved.
As surprise bonuses, sleep is more restful and at the end of a day of writing, radio and coaching. I am enjoying that delicious feeling in my body as if I’ve been more active throughout the day – which simply by sitting less, I have been.
Sure, my station is pieced together from old furniture parts. I figured this way I could see if there were unforeseen problems with a standing work station before I invested. I highly recommend this as an option before springing for a whole new setup in your home computer station. Maybe you will get hooked as I have!
This just in: ‘Sitting Less and Moving About More Could Be More Important Than Vigorous Exercise to Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes’
The correlation between sitting time, elevation of disease bio-markers and mortality are steel-solid. And the research advocating less time on you backside just keeps getting stronger. Recent newsflashes underscore that sitting less may be even more important to your health than getting vigorous exercise.
New research conducted by the University of Leicester suggests that simply reducing sit time by 9o minutes a day can lead to important health benefits.
Currently, at risk patients are advised to engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) for at least 150 minutes per week. But the new study published in Diabetologia (The journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) suggests that patents should in fact be advised to reduce their sedentary time (time spent moving very little or not at all, for example sitting or lying down). ~ Science Daily.
Preliminary evidence provided by this study tells us that sedentary behavior “may be a more effective way to target the prevention of type 2 diabetes, rather than just solely focusing on MVPA.”
In other words, simply sitting less is apparently even more powerful than we might think.
4 tips for a great standing work station
Are you inspired to shuffle your desk space at home or work so that you can sit less? Take a page from my book and go for it. Don’t worry about fancy designs or big budgets. Here are some important checkpoints:
- Make sure you have the counter top the right height (remember the 90 degrees at elbows)
- Provide for some sort of foot rest to give variety to back position. The low ledge in the picture of my station at the top of this page is perfectly positioned for me to rest one foot on
- Elevate your computer or monitor so that your gaze is forward, keeping your head level and neck out of any forward droop – important for spinal integrity and a healthy neck
- If you can build in an easy option for taking a sitting respite, so much the better
Healthy Rx Takeaway: more plants on your plate and plant your feet on the ground
I calculated that yesterday I spent four hours less sitting than I would have had I not elevated my work station. Those hours add up! Pair more standing and less sitting with more whole plant foods on your plate and you easily advance your health and vitality.
Do you have a standing workstation option, or plans for one? Please share your ideas below!