Is Your Desk Making You Fatsickandnearlydead?

How many hours each day do you sit?  Now, I don’t like being the bearer of bad news, but you may want to stand up while you read this.   Did you know that sitting all day can literally kill you! In a recent study it was found that women who sit 6 hours a day were 37% more likely to die, and men 17%, during the course of the study.  It has also been linked to dramatic increases in colon cancer, type II diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and depression.  It’s not just the ergonomics of it, it is also the metabolic and systemic damage that occurs because of the slothfulness of sitting.  It all boils down to, ‘If you don’t use it you lose it’.  So why not just head out and do a little exercise to counter the effects of sitting?  Well, according to some sources it doesn’t do any good!  Apparently, sitting all day is so bad for you that the bad effects can not be undone by exercising!  I don’t necessarily believe that all is lost if you have no choice but to be chained to a chair all day.  There are actually some very effective ways you can counter the side effects of long dates on your derriere.  Here is a post by Mark Sisson that gives some great ideas on ways to combat the side effects of sitting.

Another solution to the problem of sitting all day is to stand while you work.  Of course, standing all day comes with it’s own set of problems.  There are desks on the market that can go from standing to seated within seconds, or if you have the room you can have both a stand up and seated desk.  If you are standing while working on a computer it is important that the keyboard be at, or slightly below, elbow height and the monitor at eye level.  If you are making your own stand up desk, getting the ergonomics correct might take some ingenuity on your part.  You can make a stand for the monitor (or place it on stacked books), or purchase a slide out keyboard:  3M Knob-Adjust Keyboard Tray with Standard Platform, 17 Inch Track (AKT60LE).

My favorite option, for getting off your bum while you work, is the tread-desk.  I’m not talking about sprinting and sweating while trying to type and talk…its more like a stroll.  The first day we installed the tread desk in the office my husband walked a mile just talking on the phone, and no one even  knew he was on a treadmill.  You can spend thousands on one of these or make one yourself.  I opted for the home made version.  After doing some googling I found this guy  who came up with an ingenious and cheap solution. I tweaked his design a bit, hit craigslist for a treadmill, and  ended up spending only $500 instead of the minimum of $2500 they charge for a pre-made tread desk.  Check my home made version in the picture below.

I recently had the opportunity to design an “Active Office” for a local Real Estate company.  I incorporated standup desks, tread desks, and seated desks, all situated in rooms with lots of natural light by removing all window coverings.  Plus, a snack/drink station that offers teas, organic coffee, and raw nuts.  Check out the pictures:

I hope this inspires you to be creative in your own work space, and to find ways to incorporate natural light, fresh air, and movement into your day.  It could add years to your life and life to your years.  (Interior design by Jennifer Talley)