Natural Living

Sitting is the new Smoking!

We are becoming more sedentary as a society, with the growth of technology the number of jobs that spend the majority of their day sitting has increased.  Even jobs that used to require you to head down the hall to the resource library or over to Joe’s desk to ask questions, technology has reduced those needs.  Everything is now online on the computer right in front of you, including the ability to email your coworker down the hall.  Experts are now saying that sitting is the new smoking…too many people are doing sitting for so much of their days and it’s wreaking havoc on their health.

Stand up desks have made a huge impression lately.  There are the electronic versions where the whole desk moves up and down at the push of a button.  Or the manual in which you can adjust the whole desk up or down manually.  Then there are the various desktop versions that sit on top of your desk and either electronically or manually adjust up or down.  Here are some of the different options you could look at:

Currently, I am experiencing so much neck pain, this has been on-going for about a month now and some days are very painful.  The cause?  Working everyday on my laptop with my arms and wrists perfectly level with my keyboard, so as not to cause carpal tunnel syndrome which requires my sight line to my screen to be downward…which over the day means I tilt my head down and end up slouching my shoulders forward.  This terrible posture on top of sitting all day is not doing me any favors and my neck has decided to take action and let me know that I need to change how I work at my computer each day.

My first change began in my home office on my last birthday about 7 months ago when my dad bought me an adjustable stand up desk platform that sits on top of my desk and can be raised to stand up height.  This got me standing but I still needed to look down to view my screen.

This neck pain made me take further action. I purchased a bluetooth keyboard and a laptop stand.  So on top of the elevated desk I have a stand that brings my laptop up to eye level and the bluetooth keyboard can then sit at arm level, the perfect ergonomic set-up.  This is what it looks like today:

All the different levels may seem strange but it actually helps me keep all my paper work organized as well with all the space below, a definite plus!

On the downside, I work from various offices so I can’t carry my stand up desk with me.  But I chose a laptop stand that was portable and the bluetooth keyboard is super thin and light, very easy to pop in my bag.  So, for those days when I need to be sitting at my desk I need ways to get up off my butt and move around as often as I can.

Top seven ideas to get you moving at work:

  1. Park in the farthest parking space in the lot and walk in and out of the office.  As an alternative, and one that is necessary at one of my offices, I actually have to park across the street so I get a nice little walk over to the office and back each day.  I’ve even heard of people parking blocks away just to force that nice little walk in.  Keep in mind that you should always ensure you have an umbrella on you.  It’s always a bummer when you leave at the end of the day to find out it’s pouring rain and you have to walk a ways just to get to your car.  I have been caught in a few unexpected downpours.
  2. Take the stairs.  When you get into the office and when you leave take the stairs to your appropriate floor.  Maybe you have a coffee shop at the ground floor that you frequent and can take the stairs up and down on your coffee breaks as well…bonus points!
  3. Start a lunch time walking group.  Grab some co-workers and walk to your local lunch shop and back.  Or just eat a quick lunch and then head out for a walk for the rest of your half hour or hour.  On the plus side the walking will aid in the digestion of your lunch.  If the suns out you’ll get the added benefit of soaking in some much needed vitamin D.  And who knows, maybe you’ll end up with a bit of tan instead of heading the beach on the weekend looking like your couped up indoors all day and pasty white.
  4. Go and talk to your coworker down the hall.  Email is a great invention and we all need it, but if you just have a quick question that doesn’t require an attachment or paper trail, walk down the hall, it’s good for you.
  5. This may seem very silly, but use the washroom more.  It’s a quick step away from you desk so you won’t lose productivity but it gets you up and moving for a minute or so, anything but staying in that sitting position for another two hours straight.
  6. Have a glass of water at your desk and keep it full.  This is basically the same idea as taking an extra bathroom break, you have to get up and make that short walk to the kitchen to ensure you keep your water glass full.  It’s brief but it moves those muscles.
  7. Stand up when people come to your desk.  Usually when someone comes to see you, even if it’s just for a five minute discussion, they don’t pull up a chair and sit down.  Often they are standing while you stay sitting to talk with you for that short few minutes.  Why not take that opportunity to stand and speak with them eye to eye.  Not only does it get you out of your chair, it promotes a sense of equivocalness and team work within your work place.

I would love to hear if you have some other ideas to get you moving at work.  I know there are some people who feel comfortable just pulling out the yoga mat next to their cubicle.  That’s not me but I commend them for their confidence.  Anything you can do to get our of that chair in the day…without inferring with you work schedule and productivity is amazing.  We are not meant to see for hours at a time in the same location, we were meant to move!  So keep moving, it’s good for you!



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4 thoughts on “Sitting is the new Smoking!

  1. Wow I had neved thought about this but we really do spend a lot of time sitting…I Skype my colleagues down the hall, even on the bus I’m sitting, and when I get hope do the same.

    It’s na habit I’ll try to break, and I love the stand up desk platform idea! The Bluetooth keyboard was a genious add to it hahaha 😉

    1. My set-up is a bit “home-made”, there are some really great products out there that aren’t too expensive. Unfortunately I’d have to buy four for all the different offices I do work out of lol.

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