Should you invest in a standing desk?

Technology makes us sit too much.  Life has gotten too easy.  I remember when I was a young girl, we had one TV and there was no remote control.  Things have sure changed.

The remote control allowed you to watch from the couch, but you still had to sit through commercials until movie channels came along.  But, at least for most children, there really wasn’t enough on television to keep your attention all day.  It was easy to get up and go outside, weather permitting, because that was where the fun was.

Now, entertainment surrounds us all.  We have movies, games, and “social interaction” in our back pocket wherever we go.  On top of that, much of our work can be done from a desk.  And, if you have a commute, add the travel time in as sitting time as well.

We know its important to get exercise.  But, even those who exercise regularly, and vigorously, are at risk of the perils of a sedentary life, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  If they exercise for one hour a day, but sit or sleep the other 23, that is sedentary.

Just as important as exercise, we all need to be moving throughout the day.  When that news came out, someone invented the standing desk.  These desks are great, but must be approached with awareness of the issues they pose also.  Standing in one place, especially if you are not in a proper alignment which is probable when you become fatigued, can lead to back pain, and varicose veins.

Here are a few ideas to get you out of your seat throughout the day:

1.  Move around during commercials.  If you watch TV every day, you can get up and get a glass of water, or just pace around the room, even do some simple exercises for extra credit.  But what if you don’t have commercials?  Maybe you are watching a Walking Dead marathon on Netflix.  In that case, see number 2.

2.  Use a pomodoro timer, like this one.  There are also lots of free pomodoro apps.  Every 25 minutes, there is a 5 or 10 minute break.  That is when you get up and move.  You can use this when you are working to stay focused during those 25 minutes.  Moving during the breaks will actually make your work time more focused and productive.  Bonus!

3.  Take the stairs.  Or park furtherest from the door.  Whatever you do, don’t take the short cuts.  You are usually in a hurry, so give yourself the extra time to walk a bit more.  Its worth it.

4.  Pace when you are on the phone.  Very likely you aren’t tethered to a cord with your phone.  And even if you are (hi Mom!), you can add a long cord from the wall to allow you some movement.  Hey, you can even curl the base of the phone while you walk!  The point is to use the time while you concentrate on your conversation to mindlessly move your body.  Its not necessary to be winded on a treadmill.  Just off your rump.

5.  Start a hobby, or pick up on an old one, that requires moving around.  Gardening comes to mind most readily.  Also sports like tennis and golf can be hobbies.  But, what about photography?  You will need to move around to get those great shots.  I found a fantastic course on Udemy if you are interested.

Also, sewing requires a lot of standing and sitting between cutting, stitching, and pressing.  If you sit mostly to watch TV, play games on Facebook, or read a book, maybe you can trade some of that time for an interesting hobby that gets you moving around.  I have nothing against reading, TV, or Facebook.  Just try to balance those sedentary times with more active tasks.

6.  Pedometers are a great invention.  There are so many options now, with the wearable pedometers, as well as the apps for the phone.  The accuracy of some of pedometers may be questionable, but what matters is seeing progress and having a contest with yourself.  Maybe your app only registers 8,000 steps, when you are sure you went over 10,000.  That is fine.  Just go for 8,500 next time, or try to hit 8,000 again tomorrow.  Its fine to have some friendly competition with others too.  Just don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others.  Its just for fun, to make sure you are being active.  

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking of ways to ease into being more active.  Hopefully they will give you some ideas to add more movement throughout your day.  What ideas do you have to get moving more often?  Leave a comment to help us all add variety to our daily routine.