Combat sitting associated problems

by THS on May 14, 2010

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Let’s face it, I sit too much. The chances are you also sit too much. Various studies are pointing to the worrisome possibility that the more you sit the shorter your life span. This makes sense, as comfortable as sitting can be at times; our bodies weren’t really designed to do it for a long period of time.

Although this is a physiological issue and not a philosophical issue, the wisdom of the Greeks can still be applied to our subject. The Temple of Apollo at Delphi bore the inscription Meden Agan – ‘Nothing in excess’ and Aristotle taught of the “Golden Mean” which is the desirable middle between two extremes. With that in mind, the goal we have here is to not sit too much.

Different strategies for not sitting:

1. Stand

Not very convenient if you’re at work, but you can accomplish this by incorporating a sit to stand desk into your work environment. Utilizing a sit to stand desk has done wonders for me. You know that time about an hour after lunch when you just feel like crawling under your desk and taking a nap? Well, yes the height adjustable desk can help you accomplish that, but I’ve also found that this is the best time to raise the desk up and work from it standing. This coupled with eating an apple later on has helped me stay productive through out the day, without feeling any of the energy lulls in the afternoon.

2. Take “Micro Breaks”

Micro-break examples: take five minutes to walk around, visit briefly with a coworker, make a trip to the supply shelf and pick up those post-its you’ve so badly needed, walk outside and call one of your parents or significant other and see how their day is going, do some ergonomic stretches, do anything that gets you away from the desk and on your feet. This will accomplish both a physical and mental break. I’ve found that I can accomplish much more after taking these breaks than before. One useful way to remind yourself to do this is by employing a device commonly referred to as an egg-timer.

3. If you’re going to sit, at least sit right

Working comfortably, something that at times is dismissed as being a luxury, it is actually very vital as far as productivity is concerned. Ever hear of that saying, “a happy worker is a good worker”? Well, it’s true, and I speak from experience. There are a wide variety of ergonomic chairs that can suit different needs and body types. My favorite chairs are the Ergohuman, the Liberty, and especially the Amia.

4. Non-traditional Solutions

Try using a wireless headset. Stand up and walk around while on a long call. The seat-belt light is off and you’re now allowed to move about the cabin.

Try using the Via Swopper chair, sometimes referred to as an ergonomic stool. It’s a very interesting design which moves with you dynamically. The Swopper forces you to stay balanced and use muscles that you wouldn’t normally use while sitting.

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