Thursday, June 21, 2012

You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer 'yes' without having asked any clear question.



Bigmouth strikes again. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, Brighton. May 2012.

Theme Thursday already?

Every now and again I think that it becomes clear that it is time for A NEW BEGINNING.

‘A NEW BEGINNING?’ you ask. ‘A NEW BEGINNING!’ I say.

For me, this A NEW BEGINNING is at the same time breathtakingly simple yet utterly revolutionary.

As of yesterday I have reconfigured my workstation to one in which standing has become the default option. That is, my computer set up has the monitor at standing eye level and the keyboard at around elbow height. I’ve got the desk configured in such a way that I have the opportunity to sit down if so desired. The fact that I am also working on a laptop makes it relatively easy to do computer work seated too.

My typical workday starts at 8 am, after a walk to the bus stop, a bus into the city and then a twenty-minute walk into the office. I normally try to leave by 4:15 pm, but occasionally that time is pushed out. A fair whack of that time sees me bolted to a computer or telephone, with intermittent meetings out and about (I’m usually able to walk to most of these). Most of the meetings that I attend (some interminably long) see me sitting down.

The point is: having a standing desk won't mean standing for 8 hours a day straight.

So why A NEW BEGINNING?

I have a number of reasons. When I am sitting at my desk, even with a fancy-pants ergonomic chair, I have a tendency to slump, with my back curved and shoulders forward, which closes my chest and makes my breathing more shallow. When standing my shoulders go back, which straightens the spine and opens up my chest. The hope is that it will help with my posture.

Secondly, we burn fewer calories when we’re sitting. In fact, extended sitting sessions change our body’s metabolism.

This, and a host of other studies seem to confirm an increasing evidence base to suggest that there’s a “physiology of inactivity”.

Thus, a more sedentary set up seems to drive the fact that sitting workers crash reasonably hard around mid-afternoon. For me, 2:30 pm sees me most days nearly drifting off to sleep. When I’m standing, I find that I am more alert and attentive all through the day (even if you’re more tired by day’s end).

The key message is not that ‘standing all day’ should be the norm or that ‘sitting is the enemy’. It is more about stressing that sitting all day is not good for you and that creating work environments where standing is the default option (rather than sitting).

I’m very early on in the journey, but am already finding it working.

It really does feel like A NEW BEGINNING.

9 comments:

Mrsupole said...

Hi Kris,

This had me really LOL at wondering what your fellow workers are thinking about while watching you do this. I really think you have such sage advice here.

But I have noticed that the more I sit then the more I want to just sit and then I just want to do nothing and just sit some more. I need to get up and start doing things. We just got the pit bull fixed today and then I can send in his papers to get his license and after he receives his tags I will be able to take him for walks. He is not a happy camper right now and is not happy about this new beginning that is being forced upon him but he is an older dog and we have saved him from going to the pound so I guess if he knew his other option then he would be really thankful for this new beginning.

I really do think you are correct about our posture getting worse as we sit and closing our chests. Maybe you could somehow take measurements of the improvements that take place and get us all to try this new beginning in our lives.

This is such a wonderful post for this weeks Theme Thursday. I am totally on your side in hoping you reap the rewards for improving your health.

God bless.

Sreeja said...

Yup this must be a new beginning for good health. Kudos..

kaykuala said...

Kris,
Firstly, good that you've made improvements to your work station Secondly we have to be versatile and think about working with a good posture. Great write!

Hank

Roddy said...

My work day involves standing all day, however there is very little computer work.
My work is very physical.

Kris said...

Mrsupole, it seems to be going okay up to this point. I've raised the keyboard a little bit, but my feet and legs feel okay.

Kris said...

Sreeja, thanks!

Kris said...

Kaykuala, it feels better already.

Kris said...

Roddy, does that make you lucky?

Mojo Writin said...

With four kids, I spent most of my adult life on my feet, pelting around from one thing to the next. To me, being able to sit and write all day is a new beginning in itself :o) Nice take on the prompt.