Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sit, Stand, Walk...and Write!

They say sitting is the new smoking -- the new bad habit bringing negative health outcomes to a population of people (that’s us) who spend too much time in their chairs, usually staring at a screen, maybe with shoulders unconsciously hunched forward, and our spines out of alignment. 

For me, I started to notice it in the general stiffness of my hips. The decent flexibility I’d always enjoyed started to slip away from me, after several years of too-much-computer-time. It was nothing major, but at the same time, there was also nothing welcome about it, either. And it wasn't going to turn itself back....

So I got a walking desk. That was seven years ago, and while I wish I used it more often, it has, nonetheless, been a godsend. 

Given the amount of time I spend at the computer, I sprung for a Cadillac model -- aka, a Steelcase sit-to-walk station. It has a long tabletop for a desk, which allows room for my office chair and the treadmill to remain side by side all the time.  The desk itself goes up and down with the touch of a button, and I can easily transition from sitting, to standing, to walking whenever I like.  

At the same time, this is a no-Cadillac-necessary kind of thing. I have friends who have jury-rigged something similar for themselves just using a regular treadmill, a piece of plywood for a desk, and a laptop. The point, of course, is to get out of our office chairs and move -- and not just for an isolated workout, but in a sustained kind of way. Workouts are great, too, but studies have shown that there's no substitute for regularly getting out of the chair throughout the day. 



A lot of people are skeptical about the idea of walking and working at the same time, but I’m here to tell you that it’s a non-issue. Just to be sure, I went into the Steelcase showroom before I bought my unit, and they let me spend a couple of hours on a few different days, writing and testing out their floor model. That’s where I learned that keyboarding is no problem at all, especially at the pace I'm talking about -- 1.2 to 2.0 miles per hour. It's never been about burning calories, just about getting out of that perpetual-sitting position and onto my feet. If my task of the moment involves a lot of writing by hand, I’ll stay off the treadmill, but for everything else -- keyboarding, drafting, research, surfing online, and reading -- it's a surprisingly easy and seamless transition to walking.

Happy to answer any questions if you have them, below in the comments. 

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