"Sitting is the new smoking" , "Sitting is a silent killer"...
These media campaigns hit me hard. I surely felt guilty to sit long hours.
In 2019 we upgraded our office space with standing desks. It felt awesome for the first few days but slowly I had a terrible back pain standing long hours. Despite the upgrade I still loved my sitting desk and work chair.
As a human factors student, standing desks intrigued me. Curious questions filled my head.
As subject matter experts, how did me such a big piece in workspace ergonomics for three decades?
Did we truly miss the empirical data on sitting?
What is pushing us to think standing desks now?
Is it just copywriting gimmick to sell more standing desks?
Honestly, I was skeptical.
At one end, we don't have much data showing health benefits of standing over sitting. But on the other end, data shows arterial stiffness with prolonged sitting or standing. That was confusing.
All said and done, we do have enough data showing sedentary lifestyle is not good for us. It is not about sitting or standing. It is about no movement. Prolonged standing without moving also is bad for our bodies.
After alternating between standing and sitting desks for almost 2 years now, here is are some hacks to good health from my personal experience:
- Negative health implications from any form of inactivity can be solved by moving regularly. Make it a routine to spend the 5 mins in movement for every 30 minutes.
- One hack to keep moving is drinking lots of water or herbal tea. It pushes you to use the washroom every 30 minutes. It is annoying but it works.
- A simple rule like "walk while on a phone call" does wonders. Given work from home, I use our cozy doggy park next to home for all my catch up calls and even client calls.
Standing desk is a simplistic solution to the sedentary lifestyle problem.
Without spending a bomb on fancy standing desks you still can get the health benefits by moving regularly and still using a sitting desk.
🥂 to movement!