It’s really becoming clear how unhealthy it is to sit at your desk all day and type on your computer. “Sitting is the new smoking” I’ve heard on more than one occasion. Do I want sitting to cause me to have an endlessly miserable old age? Right in the center of middle age, I’m already starting to feel stiff and hear creaks when I get up after sitting for a long period of time. The writing is on the wall. It probably is for you too if you open yourself to the possibility.
What are the problems with sitting? Sedentary behavior is the biggest one—not moving can lead to weight gain, muscle atrophy, bone loss, and joint stiffness, among other things. On top of that, a seated posture puts pressure on your spine, squishing the discs into each other. Even worse is what bad posture can do to you. Sitting hunched over puts your spine, neck, and shoulders in bad positions that wreak havoc on your discs and neural system. Your muscles also relax and get out of shape so it becomes harder to sit or stand up straight. I am no expert on physiology, so do your research to confirm all this. Believe me, it will only depress you. I hope it inspires you to do better though.
There are a lot of health fads out there and many folks are cashing in by selling standing desk contraptions. I looked around at many options and found I could spend as much as I wanted. But I didn’t want to, so I went for a more economic approach. I bought essentially a tray that expands. I use it on my desk at full expansion for standing. I also reduce it to a bed tray height when I’m sitting on the couch or in bed. It helps combat the rounding shoulders from hunching over a laptop on my lap. It has a built-in mouse pad so I can bring that along too and avoid hand cramping. It also has an incline available for the laptop which is key to raising it to the height I need. The only thing it doesn’t have is a place for an external keyboard. I use a tray at a different height for that when I want one.
The best part of all of this is that it is actually tall enough for me. Many of the “standing desks” are for what appear to be very small people. I am 5’ 9”, which is tall for a woman, but average for a man. Don’t be fooled by the standing desks you see pictures of because they hire people of small stature to be their models. Check the dimensions before buying. There’s no use in buying a standing desk then hunching over all day!
If you don’t want to completely change your lifestyle, get an adjustable standing desk or a tray like mine. You can use it when you want to and sit when you are tired or have simply had enough. I vary it. On days when I am dragging, I sit. When I have more energy, I stand. When I feel that I need to get some energy, I stand for a little while. You don’t have to think in black and white to improve your posture. Do the best you can where you are right now. But do something because it is much better than the alternative.