April 2010

“Your chair is your enemy.”

Humans were not meant to sit all day in a chair. You might consider yourself healthy, however sitting all day puts you at “increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and a variety of cancers.” If you’re a sitting in a cubicle or in a home office all day, I highly recommend ditching your chair for a standing position. A key component of simple living means paying attention to your physical health. Standing while working is one way to take care of your body.

Long-time readers know that I have trouble sitting still. Standing while I work is a perfect solution for my need to constantly be moving. I’m able to shift my weight from foot to foot, focus on my posture and take care of my physical health.

There are a number of reasons to stand while you work:

1. Improve your health and burn energy.

Standing while working is better for your health and heart. Standing requires tending your leg muscles, shifting from leg to leg and engaging the muscles in your back. All of this burns energy. For instance, I’ve experienced fewer back pains and have dropped a few pounds.

2. Increase productivity.

I’ve been standing while working for the last few months and I am much more productive. It’s easier for me to concentrate and I don’t feel lethargic. Now that I’m standing while I work, I’m less likely to feel sleepy after I eat lunch.

3. Enhance your posture.

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a tendency to hunch your shoulders while sitting at your desk. Standing while working will improve your posture tremendously. Once you start standing while working you’ll still notice a tendency to hunch your shoulders. However, bad posture when standing feels uncomfortable so you’ll notice the behavior more quickly and be more likely to correct it.

4. A simple and low cost solution.

You don’t have to run out and buy a bunch of stuff for your standing office. Use what you have at home and be creative. For example, my new standing office is low-cost and simple. I set-up a small work station on the kitchen counter and use my cat carrier as a lap-top stand. Without some kind of stand, I would be leaning over to type and that would be bad for my back.

So whatever solution you chose, don’t ignore the principles of good ergonomics. Be creative and have fun.

Closing thoughts…

I’m thrilled with my new office and I can’t imagine sitting in an office chair again. I hope you’ll give this idea a try.

Micro-actions:

  • Take baby steps. Start standing a little bit every day and let your body get used to the new routine. You’ll be up to 8 hours in no time. And yes, you’re legs will be sore. But don’t fret, your muscles will adapt to the new routine quickly.
  • Talk to your co-workers and boss about trying this new approach.
  • Restructure your workstation so you can stand more.

Note: image from Stand while you work

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