Taking a Stand…Against Sitting

Tammy Y. Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs, The NIIC

There is a recent surge of interest in self-care and general well being. We need to take better care of ourselves. Using a standing desk is one way to invest in self-care while you work.

A couple years ago my naturopath suggested I try a standing desk. Since then, I have experienced a noticeable difference in my energy and alertness. I am able to shift from tasks more quickly and fluidly and do not feel as sluggish at the end of the day.

“Sitting for many hours per day in a sedentary job has been associated with health risks, including cardiovascular disease and perhaps even all-cause mortality. Standing desks are becoming increasingly popular to offset these risks,” said Emily Moore, ND, L.A.c.

Here are some key points to consider.

1. Use a sit-stand desk. When I first got my standing desk, I stood all day while I was working in my office. I’ve since learned that is not optimal. My desk was designed to fold up or down, so I toggle between the two. Some tasks are better accomplished while sitting (like using two computer screens for website management) than standing (plowing through emails).

“The benefits of not sitting all day can include better posture and less hip and back pain. The benefits of not standing all day include fewer problems with vein health, and reduced leg and foot problems,” said Moore. Having a sit-stand desk enables you to do both.

2. Include movement throughout your day. Sit. Stand. Stretch. Walk.

In addition to alternating between sitting and standing, take a stretch break. It releases your muscles. Where does your body hold stress? For me, it is my neck and shoulders. Stretching helps relieve that. I keep a mat in my office for doing some yoga poses.

Also, consider walking to clear your mind. Taking a brief walk, whether it is five or 15 minutes, can leave you feeling refreshed. You get bonus points for having paths or trails near your workplace.

3. Mindfulness. Focus. Be aware of your posture, your breathing, and don’t multi-task.

How’s your spinal alignment while standing? Think shoulders back, feet aligned beneath shoulders with knees slightly bent.

How’s your breathing? Try cleansing breaths to help clear your mind. Inhale for a count of 5, exhale for a count of 10. Repeat as needed. Or try an app like Headspace.

Instead of multi-tasking, focus on completing one task at a time. This is especially challenging for many people, myself included. I’m working on it. It takes consistent focus.

If you have already taken a stand against sitting, bravo! If you’re considering it, I gently nudge you to try it. Your body will thank you.


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