I’m afraid this post might not be up to my usual standards. You see, my laptop is resting on an upside down orange Ikea bin (the medium size for the Trofast toy storage system) which in turn is on a black cabinet that is as high as my elbow. I’m using a bluetooth keyboard and mouse that are resting on the cabinet in front of the bin, and I’m typing this post standing up.
I used to lie down…
This could not be farther from the usual way in which I used to write my posts up until last month, propped up in bed. I feel terrible admitting this, but I have a perfectly good explanation. You see, I sleep with my MacBook Air, my iPad and my iPhone (which I use as my alarm) next to my bed. The very first thing I used to do in the mornings, after tapping the snooze “button” several times, would be to open my Air and check the stats for this blog. How many visitors came? How many posts did they read? Was the latest post a success?
Then, I would go to Twitter. I always planned to only spend a few minutes, but an hour later I’d still be tweeting. Actually, I’d be twitting (teasing or taunting in a good-humored way), and not actually tweeting which, before Twitter, meant to make a chirping sound (like birds still do in the trees, without computers). After Twitter, I’d pick up the iPad for the day’s news and too many days I would get out of bed after noon when I would force myself to get up for lunch.
Needless to say this was detrimental to my exercise routine and worse for my back. But it wasn’t until I saw the expression on a 12-year old’s face (a friend of my son’s) who rang the bell and came face-to-chest with me in my pyjamas at 4:00 p.m. that I realized that I really needed to make a change. Had I not read his expression correctly, I would have still gotten the message when a bit later that day his mom called me to ask me if I was sick and needed anything.
Then, I sat down…
So, for a month, I’ve been good. I’ve been sitting at my desk after breakfast, dressed and with a seat cushion that provides support for my lower back. Early this morning, as I was Flipboarding my way through the news, I found this article, An Ergonomic Chair For Schoolchildren, which I found interesting not only because I have children, but because I also wanted to include it on this week’s OpinionList.
However, the first sentence states the following:
Sitting all day reduces life expectancy. Sitting is associated with an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Sitting is the new smoking. OUR CHAIRS, basically, WILL KILL US.
What?! I knew I was supposed to stand and walk around a few minutes every hour, FOR MY BACK. But I didn’t know that sitting was that bad. Since when? Who says so? What do I do about it? To make a long story short, I then found several articles that pointed to the growing trend of standing desks and an article that not only gave instructions on how to make a standing desk for $22 but that was the only one to include an ergonomics graphic (from which I proceeded to put together my elbow-high-cabinet-Ikea-bin temporary standing desk). Yes, temporary because I planned to buy a standing desk as soon as I finished this post.
However, further research for this post led me to this article, Forget the Standing Desk; You Just Need to Move Regularly which reports that Cornell University researchers have this to say about standing:
It dramatically increases the risks of carotid atherosclerosis (ninefold) because of the additional load on the circulatory system, and it also increases the risks of varicose veins, so standing all day is unhealthy. The performance of many fine motor skills also is less good when people stand rather than sit.
Now, I’m confused…
As you read these words, know that I’m back in my bed, propped up against pillows reaching the end of this post and trying to decide whether or not I will buy a standing desk. I’m just so confused. If I buy a standing desk, will I use it too much? If I don’t buy one, will I remember to stand up every 20 minutes and move around for two, as the Cornell study recommends? Should I have two types of desk and go from one to the other throughout the day as I listen to my body?
I need to make a decision fast or get out of bed and go walking. In all the time it has taken me to get to this point, I’ve been not only increasing my fat and sugar blood levels but also the risk of dying sooner by a horribly high percentage. Ah, forget it, I love my bed. Besides, Winston Churchill who died at 90 years old famously said, “Never stand up when you can sit down. And never sit down when you can lie down.” Well, I’m with Churchill, except I just read that he used to work standing up.
Update: I got a standing desk, and now I alternate between sitting down and standing up, when I’m not in bed, that is.