Sitting Too Much

With my recent back issues it was suggested to me that I get a standing desk at work. I liked the idea of being able to between sitting and standing to break up the day and several coworkers had various types of standing/sitting desks that I eyed. In order to get the new desk I had to have a doctor’s note, and then it took several weeks for them to order it and then install it.

Recently I came into work surprised to see it installed! (And my desk in total chaos and disarray. Had they scheduled it and let me know, I would have moved everything, but who am I to complain? At least it’s installed FINALLY.)

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I consider myself pretty active. I do a lot of walking, I work out 5 days a week. My fitness is pretty diverse. I’m a gym-rat, but also do things like hiking and I bike to work in the summer time. When I’m at home I’m usually busy doing stuff. But at work? I tend to sit a lot. Sure I get up and walk to the printer (A LOT, I’d say every few minutes or so) and when weather is nice I walk on my lunch break. But still, I’m sitting for long periods of time.

When my back was acting up and clearly sitting for long periods was aggravating it, I was forcing myself to get up and do my PT stretches a few times an hour. It helped but didn’t fix the problem. Not only that, by the end of the week, my back would be CRANKY.

How often do you get up from your desk at work? What do you get up for? Bathroom break, coffee, maybe walking to the printer. Some people may have all that stuff at their desk/in their office which makes it unnecessary to get up for on a frequent basis.
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Sitting is definitely detrimental to health. While part of me feels like it’s the new “fad” in the news (sitting is the new smoking, blah blah blah) I do agree that being sedentary is not going to positively impact your health. It just can’t. Our bodies aren’t built that way. We’re hunter-gatherers-farmers who no longer do those things because of modern life.

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Shocking isn’t it? We really do spend most of our time sitting! Not good. This video was really good: WATCH: The damage sitting does to your body explained in 60 seconds.

So how is my standing desk?

It was weird and awkward at first. I had to re-arrange my desk to make it work right and move things I use all day since it wasn’t in the right spot anymore. My goal was to spend half the day standing and half sitting, at least at first. I thought that was a generous number. So I stood about 20-30 minutes out of every hour that I was at work.

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Like I said, it was an adjustment. I found that I wasn’t finding that sweet spot of how to stand. I didn’t want to shift my weight on one leg and I found myself doing that often. I also didn’t want to slouch and I wanted to make sure my posture was good. Slouching wasn’t going to fix my back problems!

I am conscious of how I stand and try not to bend over too much. So it took awhile to get used to. It’s been about two weeks now. The first week I had some other issues–my feet hurt at the end of the day. I need to experiment with wearing different shoes at work and see if that makes a difference. Despite the foot fatigue, my back did feel a little better standing most of the day. I will continue to do this and my PT exercises. It might take time, but I hope this helps my back.

Do you have a standing desk at work? What has your experience been? Tips? Tricks?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

8 thoughts on “Sitting Too Much”

  1. I wish, wish, wish I could work standing up. I have to sit for hours a day to work the footpedal while I transcribe. I haven’t found a way to be able to stand and operate a footpedal without having my weight shifted to one side, which aggravates my back. Even if I stand up and walk around each hour – I still have to sit the same amount of time each day.

    I think you will adjust over time to stand more. It just takes longer than one would like 😀
    Lori recently posted..Birdies in the yard

    1. Oh man, I can see where that would be a problem. I do find myself shifting my weight sometimes and I remind myself to fix my posture. This week has been a lot better with the new desk. Yesterday I spent the majority of the day standing so that’s good.

  2. I work from home so I am not in a traditional office. I do have a treadmill desk I made myself and I can actually use it with my laptop walking at a slow pace. I was doing that a lot last year until I had a leg injury and couldn’t use the treadmill for awhile.

    Right now, I have a small program on my computer that I have set to pop up on my computer every half hour. I’ve read that just walking and moving around a couple of minutes every hour helps (in fact, the study I read said that was more helpful than standing). Here is a link to the article:

    http://healthcare.utah.edu/publicaffairs/news/2015/04/04-30-15_short_walks_offset_hazards_of_sitting_too_long.php
    Kitty recently posted..XBox & Fitness (and more Y)

  3. I have a desk job and I have learned myself that when I need to ask someone a question I walk to their desk instead of picking up the phone or mail them.

    A colleague of mine has gotten a standing desk recently. She can put her entire desk up or down. It works very well for her.

    I have a lot of colleagues that lunchwalk for 30 minutes every day or a couple of days a week. I never did that because I exercise in the morning and walk Bella in the evening. But now she’s injured I might reconsider that.
    Fran recently posted..Monday, May 18, 2015: Mishmash

    1. That’s a great tip! Getting up and just walking over to people instead of email or chat or the phone gets you out of the chair and moving. That’s a good reminder. I need to do that. I rely on G-chat way too much when I can just go talk to someone!

      Oh no, I hope Bella is ok. What happened?

  4. This is a really interesting commentary on our modern life. I used to work a desk job (10+ hr days, lots of computer time), and my body just felt….blah. Recently I started wearing a pedometer to my current workplace…I’ve been here 2+ years and it is no sedentary job at all (I work inpatient nursing and I’m on my feet most of the day). I’m finding I average between 3-5 miles of walking just at work. My back hurts from my job for other reasons unrelated to the walking/on my feet part, but I have to say, overall, I generally feel better. I also find I no longer sit still as a general rule, which drives my husband crazy. 🙂

    Another interesting benefit- less computer screen time (not as sedentary and I spend much less time in front of a computer too)…my eyesight is better. Less eyestrain overall.

    In some ways our modern life is fantastic. In other ways, it does us a tremendous disservice. Great post.
    Manda recently posted..Where the River is More like the Sea

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