“Sitting May be the New Smoking”

October 25, 2013

That's what a business colleague said a few weeks ago in a conversation we were having about setting up our home offices - and finding the right desk and chair. We were both concerned about the health aspects of sitting all day; he very rightly advised me to be sure to get up and walk around on a regular basis.

I've had some back and neck pain in the past, and have even had some physical therapy sessions that have helped me work on my posture. More recently I've worked with a trainer and am lifting weights (light ones!) to strengthen my back, neck, shoulders. I'm doing much better - and am much more aware of the need for both good posture and frequent getting up and moving around.

But even that may not be enough. My son CJ, who is a web designer (and who built and maintains this site - check him out at cjbuilt.com), recently set up a treadmill desk. He literally walks and works for hours at a time. And he reports feeling much more energized and alert.

treadmill desk

This isn't CJ's desk, but his looks a lot like this one:

(Photo from DadisLearning.com)

Then this morning my good friend Candace Fitzpatrick of Core Clarity forwarded an email she got today, shortly after she and I had talked about exactly this topic (Candace does much of her best thinking on her stationary bike).

Here's the email, from Alex B. Ramsey, President of Lodestar Universal:

The New Modern: Walk and Talk Meetings

The Mayo Clinic's Dr. James Levine, MD, Phd. says, "The new modern is the walk-and-talk meeting."

According to his research, after 90 seconds of sitting, cells sensitive to insulin begin to switch off, meaning you don't process glucose as easily. After 30 minutes seated, your triglycerides start to climb. On the other hand, standing engages the muscles of your legs and back, increases your metabolic rate; and your body processes cholesterol more efficiently.

Solutions include:

  • Invest in a standing or treadmill desk
  • hold meetings while taking a walk
  • get out of your chair and walk every hour for 10 minutes.

Side effect: One Silicon Valley entrepreneur added 20 miles of walking to her workweek and dropped 3 sizes.

Alex B. Ramsey October 24, 2013

It's all good food for thought. I'm not ready to get a treadmill desk myself, but I'm thinking about it.

What do  you do to keep yourself healthy and alert while spending 8+ hours a day at your desk or in meetings, where no matter how active your head is, your body is not doing much of anything?

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jon M. October 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

Thanks for featuring a photo of my treadmill desk and a link to my site! I’d agree with what your son has found about walking and working. I feel more energized and alert during the work day without using caffeine. I am also a lot more pleasant to be around after work too. A treadmill desk isn’t for everyone but getting up and stretching or walking around as you had mentioned can help A LOT. Your readers might be interested in my other site – http://www.DIYTreadmillDesk.com – where they can read about building their own treadmill desk. Thanks again! I’m already 3 miles into my work day.

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