Sunday, November 18, 2012
STAND UP FOR WRITING!
An unexpected benefit of my three week trip last summer to Italy, was a reduction in muscle pains and stiffness that had plagued me for years. When I mention this, everyone says, “of course, you were on vacation—no stress.”
Wrong. I largely traveled alone in a foreign country—lots of stress, though much of it good stress. No, I felt better because for the first time in decades, I had three weeks off from sitting eight hours a day in front of a computer. As fate would have it, lots of information came out last summer about the health perils of spending your life sitting. Check out these statistics from an article on The New York Times blog:
"Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes."
"By comparison, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes, the authors said."
"Looking more broadly, they concluded that an adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV."
"Those results hold true, the authors point out, even for people who exercise regularly."
"...those people with the “highest sedentary behavior,” meaning those who sat the most, had a 112 percent increase in their relative risk of developing diabetes; a 147 percent increase in their risk for cardiovascular disease; and a 49 percent greater risk of dying prematurely — even if they regularly exercised."
So I researched what are called sit-stand work stations. Though they are becoming more common, you will not yet find them at your local office depot. Before buying anything, I decided to give writing on my feet a test. I simply piled boxes on a table and put my laptop on top. After two weeks, I decided I loved writing on my feet.
So, after more research, I bought the Annua Work Table from Dania. Solidly built, it is big enough for my laptop, a cup of tea, and a book.
With the touch of a button, I can adjust the height from sitting to standing—anywhere from 28 to 41 inches. And the work table is well designed--the table top comes forward in the lower positions so it is easy to work in a chair. I can roll it on casters anywhere you wish—I move from window to window, depending on time of day and season. Next summer, I plan to roll it out under my umbrella on the patio. I use the work table’s sturdy base for a footrest—it is important to have one foot on a foot rest some of the time to alleviate pressure on the low back. After more research, I invested in an anti-fatigue mat to stand on. Get a good one—it really does make a difference.
Although I alternate between standing—an hour or so—and sitting—30 minutes or so, I find I now prefer to work standing up. There is something about the looseness of it. Not only I do have fewer muscle pains, I also have more energy at the end of the day. I am now setting up a larger sit-stand work table, for the graphic design work I do. You don’t have to spend a lot of money…check out the ideas on this pinterest site.
So, writers out there, for your health, for your work—stand up for writing. You will feel better and live longer.