Recently, an increasing number of studies have shown that sitting down for long periods of time may cause harm to our bodies and health. Scientific research suggests that there may be a link between sitting and liver disease, not to mention developing a poor posture, increasing the risk of diabetes, and anxiety.
“The unhealthy truth is that physical inactivity, including sitting too much, has become the new smoking.” (Heart Foundation CEO Mary Barry)
How so? Placing all the weight of our body onto our rear ends for too long can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Humans were given legs for a reason: to move, whether it be standing, walking, running or even climbing. Our bodies were designed for movement, and this constant movement, as well as frequent exercise, keeps us fit and healthy.
Professor Michael Trenell at Newcastle University in the UK goes further.
"The message is clear, our chairs are slowly but surely killing us. Our body is designed to move and it is not surprising that sedentary behavior, characterized by low muscle activity, has a direct impact on physiology. The challenge for us now is to 'stand up' and move."
However, standing desks are now becoming more popular in many offices. Initially this was the domain of architects and draftsmen, or teachers at the blackboard and/or podium, while the majority of office workers squeezed into cubicles and sat in front of computer monitors. This is gradually changing.
A large number of offices around the world are experimenting with different designs of standing desks or alternative arrangements to sitting behind a traditional desk. However, simply standing all day might not be the best thing for our bodies either. The key word with regard to health and fitness is movement.
Hence some workplaces use a ‘treadmill’ desk, whereas others encourage workers to step away for ten minutes every hour or two and grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of water) or do some quick stretches and so forth. The main thing is to keep the blood flowing and the joints in motion.
So what’s the solution? In the case of laptops, using an additional, wireless keyboard will allow us to place the computer screen at a level that is good for our eyes, while allowing us to type (on the wireless keyboard) at a level that is more natural for our arms. In the case of ‘pen and paper’, a slanting desk at elbow height may provide the most desirable solution.
I’ve lost a little weight, but not a significant amount. However, I do find that I’m more flexible, and I am happy knowing that my body is not in a sedentary position for hours on end anymore. I often adjust the weight on my legs, and move slightly from time to time without distracting myself from my work. My posture is certainly better these days, and my back and body feel more at ease. I guess the most convenient thing is that I rarely have to ‘get up’ for anything.
Why not make a stand and try something that may be of great benefit to you and your health in the long run? I’m sure your body will give you a standing ovation.