Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: Standing Up for My Health: How a New Work Station is Changing My Work Habits

Standing Up for My Health: How a New Work Station is Changing My Work Habits

Director of Application Development

The chorus of infographics and articles and posts about our sedentary desk jobs had finally become overwhelming. Sitting all day is killing us. And so, I invested in a giant, black, desktop contraption that allows me to adjust from sitting to standing with minimal effort.


I'm standing at my desk as I write this. My two monitors are arrayed in front of me, my desk chair is pushed to the side, and my elbows are bent at a comfortable 90 degrees. I'm aware of the muscles in my back working to maintain my upright posture, and I sometimes remind myself to drop my shoulders and press them back. In general I stand squarely on both feet, but sometimes I bend my knees and hips and bounce around. I find myself moving around more in general. I swing my arms and stretch them overhead. I walk around my office to grab a pen or my notes.




"We've become so sedentary, that 30 minutes a day at the gym may not do enough to counteract the detrimental effects of eight, nine, or 10 hours of sitting, says Genevieve Healy, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Cancer Prevention Research Centre of the University of Queensland in Australia. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that "The time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level." This is astonishing to me. The damaging health effects of too much sitting, which include heart disease, diabetes, depression, and back pain, cannot be counteracted by exercise.


My new desk set up was a topic of discussion and fascination in the office for a couple days. Staff members came by to take look and see how it works. I've offered to let others try it out on days when I am not in the office. As I ease into this new arrangement, I want to make sure that I am moderate in both my sitting and my standing. I want to switch positions regularly, both because I may get tired more quickly when I am standing, and also because I believe the most natural way of working is to be in a variety of positions throughout the day. For now, I've found that I have so many meetings, during which I sit, that I don't have to lower the platform very often.


I've been reading and responding to emails, writing, and even attending conference calls. I will know in time if this new arrangement is maintainable, and if I experience noticeable health benefits, such as weight loss, reduced back pain, or increased focus and energy (as others have reported). But for now, I enjoy the novelty and the freedom of being on my feet.

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