Taking a Stand — for Standing Up

I swore I wasn’t going to do it — but a few weeks ago I ate my words.

Last year, a number of people in my office (in addition to my work as the belle, I work full time in communications at the Georgia Institute of Technology) adopted a standing workstation. Translation: your computer is set up so that you stand at the keyboard vs. sit. However, throughout the day, you are encouraged to periodically take a rest — and sit — to do work that doesn’t require your desktop.

You can find plenty of articles online about the trend. One published in Wired magazine is great at explaining how a standing workstation should be set up. A recent BBC article shares that standing up for three hours will help a person burn 144 calories. The same BBC article also mentions recent research that has indicated a strong connection between too much sitting and an increased risk of diabetes. So evidently, there are plenty of good reasons to not sit down so much.

First off, I have to commend the leadership in my department for being so supportive of this idea. In addition to being fabulous at everything technology, our IT guy, Christian, has also become an expert in setting up these workstations. All anyone has had to do is say they want to try the arrangement, and the department has paid for the supplies and Christian has swooped in to get everything set up.

Well, for months, I resisted. I thought, “Who would be nuts enough to want to stand up for the majority of the day?” or “This is just a silly trend.” My favorite saying was that I was “standing up for sitting down.” But a few months ago, I changed my tune.

Aches and pains can go hand-in-hand with being fit and well. Stretching, yoga, massage and visits to the chiropractor help to keep many of them at bay. But I have a tightness in my glute/hamstring area that never seems to disappear completely — and sitting for long periods makes it “scream” at me the loudest. (For example, two hours of driving in the car can be quite uncomfortable.)

I got to the point where standing was actually often more comfortable than sitting. So I asked my massage therapist and chiropractor what they thought of the idea of me standing up, and both thought that a mix of standing and sitting couldn’t hurt. (Apparently, sitting puts a lot of pressure on your lower body that isn't the best for the muscles and body alignment.) So I took the plunge.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog to find out if standing is a “fit” or “miss” for the belle…

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