You see the competing articles everywhere: “Sitting is the new smoking”, “Standing All Day is Twice as Bad as Sitting for Your Heart”. Everyday there is a new article telling you that one or the other of these work methods is dangerously horrible for you. So what do you do?
Here are the simple facts: The average person spends around 12 hours of their day sitting. This means that for half of the day their minds are active, but their bodies are sedentary. This time includes driving, working, eating, and watching TV.
Standing all day is not the answer to this problem. Your body needs to move throughout the day. It is surprising how just standing and walking more throughout the day can increase your energy. The general consensus is that you should alternate between standing and sitting every 30 minutes. That can be hard to remember to do when you are absorbed in your work.
“The best position is the next position. Always keep moving throughout the day!”
Here are some of the tools we use here to give us a little nudge to stand:
Outlook calendar alerts. Set yourself a task reminder that will make an alert window pop up.
Not a fan of Outlook? No problem, I recently tried out Orzeszek Timer. It is a light weight program that keeps a small window on your desktop.
You can set any amount of time from seconds to hours; when your time is up, the window flashes at you.
You do not need a sit-to-stand base on your desk to accomplish this, but it sure does help! I have a HAT base under my surface and I love it. I just push a button and up it goes. Being able to switch my desk height on a whim has really improved my health and productivity. Before my sit/stand when I would feel sluggish I would reach for the coffee. Now I stand and shake off the fatigue. When my back starts to feel achy half way through the day I just stand for 20 minutes and stretch out. It really took a couple of weeks to notice the difference, but I feel like I have more energy at the end of the day.
If you do not have the ability to switch to a full sit-to-stand workstation there are other options for you. The Volante unit for example sits on your desk and you can raise it with a lever. It is very portable!
If you are not in the market for new equipment or just want to see how you like working while standing, try a sturdy moving box or find a counter to work at. The most important thing is that you continue to move throughout the day. Small changes to your routine can make a large impact on your life: move your printer farther from you to force yourself to get up, take short ten minute walks around your building, if appropriate walk over to your co-worker to ask a question instead of emailing them. You will feel better and your work life will improve with your new energy boost.