Stand Up, Sit Down.

19 06 2011

Problem:  As my work load has steadily increased over the past two years, I’ve found myself sitting more. As my sitting time increased, I felt increasingly restless and craving movement.

Solution: Ditching the chair (mostly) and standing up while working.

I started this practice of standing even before the large number of studies came out about the dangers of sitting (see infographic here), so it wasn’t for reasons of health/weight loss that led me to this habit. It was more a frustration and annoyance with being on my butt the whole time, and feeling very fidgety because I couldn’t move.

Some of my standing up methods include putting my laptop on a stack of thick hardcover books, and writing on a little bookcase that comes up to my chest.

I’ve been working while standing for over a year now and here are some observed results:

  • I’m more productive. Because sitting made me feel restless, I started to fidget with my fingers, spin my pen, drum on the table and so forth – all of which made me lose my concentration. Standing up, though, put an end to my restlessness. Now I’m fully concentrated 99% of the time and can do more with less time.
  • I think better. For some reason, I can never think quite as well sitting down as standing up.
  • I’m happier because I’m not stuck to the chair on my butt.

This isn’t to say that the method is perfect.

  • Standing does get a little tiring. To take the pressure off my feet I’ll shift my weight between my right and left legs by swaying my hips a little. Of course, I’ll also sit down and work like that for a while before switching back to standing when I feel restless again!
  • Stiff neck and lower back. This is especially true with writing while standing, but I think it is more to do with the surface being too low. It’s not a big problem though – doing a handstand or the wheel pose instantly relieves all my stiffness, not to mention giving me a boost in energy.
  • When I get tired of both sitting and standing, I walk. Granted, this only works with reading but it’s wonderful anyway. All I have to do is take my book, slowly waltz up and down the room/corridor, and feel totally refreshed.

Bottom line: mix it up. Sit, stand, walk…after all nothing is good in excess.


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