We know that sitting too much makes us physically weak, chronically sick, and posturally ugly.
“Not me though! I work out—I get my compensatory movement four times a week.”
Well, this doesn’t matter. (Ok, it does, but less than you think.) Even two hours of exercise every day can’t compensate for sitting more than four daily hours (the US average is 13 hours a day spent sitting). If you have a traditional desk job, sedentary study habits, or too much time to waste sitting in front of a TV or computer screen, your health suffers and your life expectancy shortens no matter how athletic you are.
As Dr. Kelly Starrett writes in his new book Deskbound, “sitting for as little as two continuous hours increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, back and neck pain, and other orthopedic problems.” Sitting is the new smoking, and exercise can’t reverse the bodily damage caused by too much sitting.
There’s only one way out: move more!
Activity workstations like standing desks or stationary bikes with a desk top can help you implement this lifestyle principle.
In a recent study, June Pilcher and Victoria Baker from Clemson University investigated the potential immediate benefits of an activity workstation. They assigned 38 university students to either an activity or a sedentary group. Those in the sedentary group performed two cognitive tests (tests of verbal logical reasoning and nonverbal reasoning) and filled in some questionnaires while sitting at a traditional desk, whereas those in the activity group performed the same tasks while sitting at a FitDesk (see picture), pedaling the bike at a comfortable slow pace.
The results? Using the stationary bicycle didn’t impair cognitive performance, but it enhanced positive feelings, mood, motivation, and morale.
Personally, I use a standing desk for all my computer work, and I feel a lot better because when you stand you automatically move more. Even if you don’t care about your cardiovascular and metabolic health, your muscular and orthopedic wellbeing, and how long you live, moving more by day will make you happier.
The more you move during work, the more joyfully and motivated you will work—and how can this not enhance your life quality and productivity?