I spend a lot of time thinking about health achieved through lifestyle. I also spend a lot of time at work. Bring the two together, and you guessed it, I spend a lot of time thinking about how the work environment is a big piece of the lifestyle pie. There are a lot of things we can’t change about our jobs, but we can usually modify the way we live in our workspace. The typical office type desk job can bring with it many health hazards if not given some special attention and creative modification. As our friend Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”; we need to be proactive.
Those of you who work hard to maintain a paleo diet might find it easier to dodge doughnuts at the morning meeting than the next guy, but what about all that sitting? The connection between too much muscular inactivity from sitting and disease risk is clear; whether you get your workout at the end of the day or not, the damage is already done if you sat at a desk most of the day. I get plenty of funny looks from individuals walking by my office as I stand at my computer, but I honestly could care less. That’s right, I stand at my computer. I made use of some unused stacking files and some old textbooks to elevate my computer, monitor, and mouse. Now I know this particular set up sounds a bit hokey but I did follow some sound guidelines to keep it ergonomic and it does the trick. There are many legit desks that do the lifting for you, but you can accomplish the same goal being resourceful around the office if need be.
I feel good when I stand at my desk, I have better energy throughout the day and it keeps me on my toes (no pun intended). Elbows bent at a 90 degree angle marks the right desk height (keyboard and mouse), stretch out your arms parallel with the floor and that marks where the middle of the computer monitor should be. Give your feet some room, place a small box or stool at your feet and use it to prop a foot on from time to time. You can get an anti-fatigue mat for the floor (especially for hard floors). Allow yourself to move around a little, engage your core slightly to help support your back (which should be strait). It can be that simple and yet so powerful in turning the tide on a sedentary work environment and the health hazards that follow. So who’s with me?
For more information on this topic, check out some of the research:
Also, there are many references following this NY Times article from February 2010: