Get me off the couch, please.
By now, you have probably heard that sitting is the new smoking. It is not JUST that we are not moving as much as we need to be, even though that is true. It is also that we are moving and not moving in very much of the same ways over and over again. That means that there are all these muscles and joint positions just not being used.
So what does that mean? Well, you have probably also heard the term, “use it or lose it” — that is a real thing. Don’t use your muscles, lose them, you even lose your bone mass (osteoporosis), you lose your joint range of motion. Some of these can be brought back if you use them again before you have waited too long... but sometimes you can’t.
So what? Who cares, if I am not using it, maybe I don’t care if I am losing it? Does anyone really think that? Probably. Well, for those of you who really don’t care, that is your call. But for the rest of us we should know that when we start to lose bone, muscle and joint range of motion our body starts to die in those places faster then the rest of us. That creates a nice little opening for pain, for injuries, and for death. It also means a SLOWER metabolism. Your body is so efficient that if you aren’t going to use the whole thing, it gets rid of stuff so that you don’t have to “waste” the energy (calories) to maintain this “useless” stuff. That is one big reason why our metabolism slows as we age, it really isn’t a mystery.
Ok, that was a bit of a rant especially since I am trying to get to a point where I can share standing workstation solutions. So to take you there, this is the deal. Sitting includes all the things you do when you are at 90 degrees of hip and knee flexion. That is one range of motion for the body (90/90). You are in this position, I am guessing, most of your awake day. Driving, working at the computer, resting on the couch, biking, knitting, reading in your favorite chair, eating at the dinner, lunch, breakfast table. For fun, just try to note what percentage of your day you are in the 90/90 position Versus walking, standing, hiking, reaching, or any of the other 1,000,000s of things you could be doing with your body.
The key isn’t entirely that standing all day is the trick. They key is that one position is not the trick. Variability is what your body needs to function and to feel good.
So, if you are a computer person (and who isn’t these days), you might like to mix it up with a standing work station. I am typing this standing on a BOSU right now. I also use my half dome calf stretcher, or just my plain ole feet. You can use a rock mat, or balance disc. You can mix it up!
To get your creative juices flowing, here are some ideas for you (and there are may more):
Tell the truth, did you read this sitting down?