I recently took part in an extensive nationwide health study designed to find out how many waking hours we spend sitting down. I calculated my results for a normal office day and found that I spend 2.5 hours sitting down. That’s not bad. The alternative could easily be a daily average of 12 hours sitting down.
So how do I do it? Why do I work standing up? A lecture by an occupational health physiotherapist organised by Martela in 2001 was all the encouragement I needed to change things. I immediately understood the drawbacks of sedentary work and the benefits of standing work. For me, 1 + 1 made 3.
The first three weeks were the most difficult. My legs and back ached from the strain and I had to pace myself. But as is the case with any type of physical performance, training produces results and one day it no longer felt like hard work. My body had adapted to the new way of doing things.
When you work standing up, it is amazing how quickly working for 8-10 hours no longer feels like a strain. It actually makes you feel positive and energised. In the end the whole concept of sitting and standing is reversed. You need to have a good reason to sit down. You sit down to do something specific, such as eating a meal, having a sauna, watching TV, etc. I don’t even feel like sitting down any more when I eat my breakfast. I only just got up, why would I want to sit down again straight away?
All long-term projects need motivation, so I launched a personal project a few years ago called “Ageing wisely”, in which ergonomics at work was one area contributing to my wellbeing. I later named this project “Ergonomics for life” and included in it all my personal wellbeing projects. But why? Because when I get old, my quality of life will depend on my functional capacity, and because I only have one spine.
Life is full of surprises, but I want to plan ahead. Perhaps I will be lecturing on this subject when I am in my 90s. And until then I have got a long-term project to keep me busy.
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