We are built to Stand and Move
Structural Engineer –
We are classified as homo erectus for a reason, our bodies are built to stand and move.
Research shows sitting for 8-10 hours a day causes our metabolism to slow and increases our risk for a whole variety of health problems. However, the research on how best to counteract our computer-obsessed workday is still evolving.
First, you can exercise before, after, and sometimes during the work day (most common). Second, you could try a stand-up desk (which I currently enjoy). Third, you could try a stand-up desk with a treadmill below, which is also catching on in the workplace.
Each of these paths has its merits and pitfalls. People with families and busy lives might not have time for the gym. Plus some research suggests gym workouts might not be enough to counter eight hours of being stationary. Standing for long periods of time can increase varicose veins. Some studies suggest the treadmill below the desk decreases productivity.
For me the takeaway is simple. Keep moving! Whether you stand up or sit down be sure you are circulating blood in your arms and legs for 2-3 minutes every half-hour. I’ve chosen a stand-up desk in the hope that it spurs me to move around more. Although it was a tough two-week transition, I don’t wear special shoes. I don’t have back pain. I think my posture has improved. I don’t immediately crash the second I get home. I find myself with more energy than ever. There is no substitute for eating healthy and a good jog, but we should also strive for a healthy environment at a place where we spend a third of our waking hours.
We all know exercise is vital to our health, and we all know flying through a Revit model for eight hours a day does not classify as exercise. I’m a firm believer in listening to your body and using common sense when it comes to health, diet, and happiness.
So next time… Don’t hesitate to get up for that third cup of coffee or glass of water. Print that progress set to a printer on the opposite side of the office. Don’t call a coworker on the phone; rather, walk down to his or her desk or stand-up desk and have a chat.