They say sitting is the new smoking. A study by the American Cancer Society published in 2018 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found a link between long periods of sitting down and a higher risk of death from all causes in the over 127,000 people they studies over 21 years. This is the dawn of the standing desk.
Many adults in the UK spend more than seven hours a day sitting or lying and it’s not hard to imagine that if we were to examine our own lives. From the moment we wake up, we sit down on our commute to work, we then sit down at our desks at work, we come back home and after a long day at work we sit down or lie down on the sofa if we are lucky enough to not continue working. As someone that works with organisations to help their employees achieve a transformation in their wellbeing and as previous employee I have observed this behaviour in myself and others. I therefore made it my intention to optimise my life and my environment to enable me to move around as often as I could. I now help others and organisations optimise.
We now know why but how?
So we now know why sitting down is bad and we reflected on our own behaviour to become aware that maybe we too sit down too much. So what do we do about it?
Get a standing desk
I was lucky enough to come across Deskmate just over a year ago and it has changed the way I work. Deskmate is a nifty standing desk which conveniently unfolds from a flat pack to accommodate your laptop or your screen and a keyboard. I have made a conscious decision to ensure I am doing as much work as possible from standing. I am moving around from work at the Deskmate where I am doing more admin and repetitive work like responding to emails, having calls and meetings, sometimes writing content to sitting down when the work requires focusing at my screen for details, or more creative work such as journaling, preparing for mentoring sessions.
Get a fitness wristband with a motion sensor
I am also moving as much as I can, with my fitness wristband letting me know when I stood still for more than 1 hour. So I try to interrupt what I do and move around or go into a stretch to try and move my body 360 degrees. In fact, when I am using the standing desk I am aware of my posture and the position of my arms and shoulders. It is really easy to slouch on one hip or start raising your shoulders to your ears.
I have been really impressed with my Deskmate, especially because it is incredibly affordable, has a really nice design (I opted for the sleek black design but they offer really funky designs too) and it is portable/foldable (which means that you can take it with you or you can use it at your normal desk and fold it down when you want to sit down). From my experience coaching and mentoring clients I know the biggest barrier to change is taking full responsibility for your actions and focus on the life you create. When this is where you spend your attention then you will realise that you can create the environment you want and any excuses coming your way you transform them into opportunities to optimise your life. I hope you get to do this too!