Improving Your Health While At Your Computer

The average person sits for approximately 13 hours per day, according to USNews.  This includes more than 80% of us that work at a desk and sit all day for work.

Sitting For Long Periods Is Linked To Health Concerns

The Mayo Clinic reports that sitting for long periods is linked to several health concerns such as obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, additional body fat around the waist (the kind that is linked to heart disease), and even poor cholesterol levels.

Even though I work from home, I find myself trapped at my desk for almost 8 hours a day (ok, most of that is at night once everyone is in bed).

My husband, on the other hand, works at a company that requires him to stand and walk around almost all day long.

When it came time for us to get our bloodwork done for the insurance company, I fully expected that we would have similar results since we eat pretty close to the same junk.

Not even close.  My husband was well within the normal range while my doctor was ready to prescribe me medication to control my cholesterol!

I was devastated.  Granted, I did absolutely nothing to take care of myself and instead focused on anything but proper diet and exercise.  I was trapped into a routine of keeping myself busy on my computer and not having enough time for “me”.

Well…I wasn’t about to change that.  I have entirely way too much to do on the computer (I teach online marketing, after all).  I had to come up with a compromise.

Workdesk Over A Treadmill?

One of the suggestions was a treadmill where you place your workspace OVER the treadmill.  Um…I can see that turning into a very dangerous situation.

I can’t even watch a television program and walk or run on a treadmill.  I once watch the show “Cops” while trying to jog on a treadmill.  When the cameras started bouncing around while the camera crew ran behind the police officers, I fell off.  True and painful story.

While I have exceptional typing skills (especially considering the all-thumbs upcoming generation that only uses their smartphones), I am not talented enough to actually walk while typing.

Still, for the amount of time I sat to work on my computer, I needed to find something that allowed me to work and not sit.  If you think an under-the-desk treadmill is for you, here’s a great one you can check out here.

My husband’s work had provided us with free access to a health program.  During one of the weeks, the coach mentioned this very dilemma. Considering over 80% of the workforce sits behind a desk for 8+ hours a day, the coach had another solution.

Converting The Desk To Sit-Stand

I opted for a sit-stand desk.  Technically, I got the converter version which meant I kept the desk I already had and added this.  What makes this great is that I can have it down while I need to sit, but I can easily pull it up to a position where I can stand and work.

If you don’t already have a desk, or you need the frame, you can get that here.

The first day I had it (after a day of adjusting my desk to accommodate the new item), I completely forgot it had that capability.  I made it the entire day, still sitting for 8+ hours.

This made me think about how and what would get me to stand up instead of sit down.  I realized that I needed something that would break my attention enough to make me realize that I needed to stand.

Setting Reminders

That led to 2 new kitchen timers.  I did try to use my phone one time, but I get so many notifications on my phone that I frequently would get distracted clearing out notifications that I rarely set the timer.

These timers were a set of 2 for less than $8.  I initially set them for 30 minutes and 30 minutes…until I realized that standing requires some muscles, and I had none.  Day 1 of standing for even just a few minutes at a time made me very sore in my shoulders and upper back.

If I wasn’t convinced I sat too much before, this really made me feel like I was in my chair too much!

I ended up setting each timer for different times.  30 minutes for sitting (which also gave me a chance to think about something for 30 minutes straight…or until my daughter came up to me) and then 10 minutes for standing.  I’m not much for standing still so I actually decided to move my chair out during those times and actually do some small exercises.

Creative Standing Options

For example, I might do a little step to one side and reach for the stars.  Gives me a little stretch and gets the blood moving.

Other times, I’ve done full exercises behind my desk (and it’s not a big area).  Typically, I can do those when I am listening to a webinar or sneaking in a show when everyone is sleeping.

Overall, I feel like the sit-stand desk has helped me increase my health.  I will say that once I get standing I frequently decide I need to walk around or go do something else (like a bathroom trip).  I even feel like I’m not behind my desk as much as I realize how much better I feel getting up and moving around.

It’s not an earth-shattering tip, but if you’re one of the 80%+ of people stuck behind a desk for 8+ hours a day, a sit-stand desk might be for you!  You can check out the exact one I purchased here.

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