Casual Friday: Sitting Is the New Smoking

Casual Friday: Sitting Is the New Smoking

We’ve posted a bunch about health and nutrition before, and we got a bit nerdy. Maybe too nerdy (as if there’s such a thing). But today, we’re posting about health again, but we’ve cut out almost all the nerdy. Promise.

Today is about why sitting is killing you.

Sure, there are tons of articles out there about why sitting down all day is doing oceans of damage to your hips, glutes and spine, and can actually shorten your life. I’m not going to rehash all that. Instead, I’m going to ask you to view sitting as the new smoking, because it’s that bad for your health. And aside from ingrained habit, it’s pretty easy to change.

Arshad Chowdhury has a post entitled What Happens When You Stand for 2 Years, and it’s making the rounds. What different about this one than all the others is it’s a retrospective look on the benefits of standing from a guy who actually stood up at his desk for two years. It’s not theoretical, it’s experiential.

Ever since I got my Fitbit I have been forcing myself to stand up and move more. I stand up for all phone calls, all webcasts, and anytime I’m jotting down high-level notes for a project. I don’t have a stand-up desk yet at home or the office, but I’m working on that.

Chowdhury sums up his experience nicely, and his experience jibes with what all the doctors and kinesiologists are saying about sitting v. standing. He concludes:

Some things that I feared would happen did not actually happen.

  • I didn’t develop any knee, foot, back, or hip pains.
  • I don’t feel exhausted at the end of the day or week.
  • My productivity and ability to concentrate did not go down.

What did happen:

  • My posture improved. My neck and shoulders no longer pitch forward.
  • My legs became more muscular.
  • I no longer get back pain.
  • My work day involves a lot more movement.

Without getting into an evolutionary biology rant, let’s just say we’re not built to sit all day, slouched in a chair, or even bouncing on an exercise ball looking like an intern hopped up on a triple espresso. We’re built to squat, walk and run, and we have an amazing network of joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles to enable us to do this. So, suffice it to say that sitting all day staring at computer screens while our metabolic rate tanks by 90% isn’t fulfilling our evolutionary destiny, unless your desitiny is to become Captain Slouchy McBackpain.

There are tons of resources about how to find or build your own standing desk (or adjustable sit/stand desk, for the indecisive), but I’m not going to bore you because the Internet is a giant place and there are lots of great things to read, almost everywhere, at the behest of a search button, and you don’t need run-on sentences. Or fragments. But, maybe you do, so I’ll just point you to The Wirecutter’s stand-up desk roundup, because it’s the best I’ve seen anywhere. And it covers pretty much any scenario you have to deal with. Except fire ants. Those aren’t covered.

(Can you tell it’s Friday? I can.)

Oh, in case you’re wondering what adjustable stand-up desk I’m going to get when a giant bag of money falls into my lap one day and we don’t have a ridiculous cat emergency to pay for, I’m getting the NextDesk Terra.

Have a great weekend, everyone.