The standing desk "in action."

The standing desk “in action.”

We live in strange times. They are times in which some of the most common and painful injuries a worker can sustain will happen sitting at a desk in front of a computer with a hand on a mouse.

Sitting, we’ve learned, is a particularly troublesome problem. We do it all day at work. We do it while we eat. We do it while we drive. And we often end up doing it some more while we watch TV at night.

In January this year, the CBS News cited a study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine that found sitting to be very hazardous to our health, even for those who exercise.

The study found sitting for prolonged periods raised the risk of cardiovascular disease by 14 percent, cancer by 13 percent, and diabetes by a whopping 91 percent. Those who sat for long stretches and got no regular exercise had a 40 percent higher risk of early death. With regular exercise, the risk was smaller but still significant: about 10 percent.

This news has popularized the idea of “standing desks,” where people can stand while they work away at their computers all day, forgoing the stress to their bodies caused by sitting.

A story in this morning’s Washington Post reports on a new study in which English researchers have determined that people should ease into the standing, starting with two hours a day and working towards four. And while standing desks are great, the researchers said anything that gets people up is good.

Taking your calls standing. Walking around. Pacing. Holding standing meetings. Walking meetings. Walking over to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an e-mail. Using the stairs instead of the elevator. Taking a lunch break. Simple stuff.

Whatever you do, the research is pretty clear. You need to stop sitting so much. You might not be having a hard time now, but you likely will soon if you don’t get up.

  • downshift

    What turned me on to standing & walking desks was the mental clarity and the keen problem solving ability I seemed to have while walking on the treadmill at the gym. New and creative ideas and solutions for both work and life issues became common enough to get me to bring a notepad with me. Having a standing desk at the office brings those benefits where I could use them most, and for a much longer time than I care to spend at the gym or walking in circles. I’m a huge standing/walking desk advocate now and write about the best ones.

    Patrick S