An Underutilized Investment:
I walk into corporate offices and I see the same issue over and over: the company invested thousands of dollars in standing desks for their team yet everyone is sitting down. As I make my way through the office I ask folks how often they stand. The answer is consistent, “I tried it but didn’t like it”, or “I got tired.”
There are two reasons why people fail at using a standing desk. The first reason: we are weak. We have been sitting at the desk for our entire life through school and into our career. For some of us that is more years than we want to count. Even if you are in your first year out of college, you have been sitting in a desk since kindergarten. Unless you were lucky enough to have gone to a school in which the teachers/administration knew how to setup a movement rich environment, we enter school forced to sit down and sit still.
If you watch any child they don’t like sitting still and I’ve witnessed my daughters go from sitting in a chair to bum on the floor in a half second. At this point in your life you have fully adapted to the preference of sitting down while at your desk. You are trained to sit all day and you have probably sourced a chair that makes it quite comfortable to sit all day. Humans crave comfort. Look around at the world, there is a constant strive for more comfort. Embrace discomfort.
Train to Stand:
People fail because they have not trained their body to stand all day. Maybe you’ve tried it or maybe your HR department offered the desk riser, but it is hard to focus when you are challenged to do deep work, and you feel the urge to sit. Simply put, you have not strengthened the muscles that are required to stand all day. It takes 4-6 weeks to get over that hump.
The Right Setup:
The second reason people fail is that they do not have a complete standing work station. Throw away the desk riser that only raises your monitor and keyboard. Go out and invest in a desk where the entire surface rises. This elevates everything on your desk and provides options for how you can lean on your desk, put your elbows on it while you rub your head after a challenging call, and it brings your materials within eye sight. But it is still not complete: you absolutely have to have a place to set your foot. Think of when you walk up to a counter and they have a bar running along the base. It is a natural fit to set your foot on it. This changes the load on your back and allows for a movement rich environment. The best solution is the fidget bar that Rogue fitness sells. It is designed by the standing desk pioneer Kelley Starrett and he has a book that will really drive home how dangerous it is to sit all day. Go out and source that extremely important piece to complete your workstation, a foot rest that has movement.
- Get the proper equipment for a complete standing work station:
- Slowly train your body. Start tomorrow with the goal of standing for 1 hour when you first arrive to work.
When you incorporate these small changes, it will be a huge difference to your overall fitness and well-being.
Let’s rise above and lead.
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