Standing While Working

 Posted by on 13 March 2010 at 4:00 pm  Health, Personal, Productivity
Mar 132010

Last weekend, Dr. Mary Dan Eades posted on the effects standing and moving while working, rather than remaining sedentary: You Could Stand To Lose a Few Pounds. She writes:

For quite some time now, this very idea — standing more — has been something that Mike [Eades] and I have discussed at length in our ongoing search for what changed in our lives (and the lives of our peers) during the quiet slide from 40 to 60. What happened that could account for the difficulty so many of us clearly experience in holding the line against weight gain (let alone losing weight) as we age, even in the face of a eating about the same amount of food and doing about the same amount of exercise as we did in our younger years.

Then Dr. Eades describes the vast difference in daily movement when working as doctors in a busy medical practice versus working as writers and researchers. Finally, she discusses how that might relate to a person’s weight. It’s not so simple, but standing versus sitting might be part of the picture.

Here’s the comment I posted:

Funny, I just posted to OEvolve about working while standing yesterday… I suspect you’ve hit on the next paleo “let’s try this” meme.

Normally, I’m not active like you were as a doctor, but my pattern is to move around a fair bit during the day, both inside and outside. However, when I was seriously hypothyroid this fall, I was sedentary in the way that Gary Taubes describes in obese people in Good Calories, Bad Calories: I simply didn’t move unless really necessary. (Even walking across the room was a chore; walking for five minutes with the dog made me want to lay down to rest.) That lack of ordinary movement destroyed my conditioning in just a few weeks; the effect was far greater than just not working out regularly. So perhaps wiggling around in an ordinary way has a greater impact on our fitness than most people suppose.

In any case, I do want to try converting my workspace to standing, and I’ve temporarily rigged it up to do that. However, my feet don’t seem to be up to the task yet. They’re tired! I think I need to ease into it.

I’m none too fond of my desk, so I’d love to put together a new setup, preferably so that I can stand most of the time, but perhaps with a bar stool to allow me to sit if I’m tired.

I tried a temporary set-up with boxes last weekend, but that didn’t work well. To do work, I need a desk-sized solid surface, so that I can deal with papers, books, notes, etc.


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