Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Standing at desk may help with pain, burn more calories than sitting

Ask an expert how to establish a fitness habit and chances are you'll hear something like this:

Find an activity that fits your life, and is easy to include in your daily routine.

That's good, but I propose taking it a step further:

Find an activity that fits your life, and is hard NOT to include in your daily routine.

Here's what I mean: Like many writers, editors and binge TV watchers, I do a lot of sitting. Chairs, sofas, floors, rocks, you name it, I can sit on it. Not to be immodest, but I excel at sitting.

Lately, though, my pride in this accomplishment has been tempered. You may have noticed news reports claiming that sitting may be as bad for us as cancer, obesity and large vehicles piloted by texting teens. A few headlines just from this month:

• "Are you sitting down? Your heart failure risk is higher'' (Detroit Free Press)

• ''Sitting at Work for Hours Can Be as Unhealthy as Smoking''(CBS News)

• "Too Much Sitting Raises Early Death Risk'' (Huffington Post)

This latest outburst of sitting-is-deadly news mostly comes courtesy of a report in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers studied 84,170 men ages 45 to 69, and found that over eight years, guys who spent five or more hours a day sitting were 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than those who sat for no more than two hours.

(Really? Who can sit for no more than two hours in a day?)

And even a tough gym workout doesn't fully compensate for the effects of too much sitting.

Even more convincing to me is the fact that after a day slaving over a hot computer my right hip hurts. I try to get up and walk around every hour, which is easy to include in my daily routine — and easy to forget about.

A few weeks ago, I was complaining about this to my newsroom neighbor Amber McDonald, our social media editor. She said her back aches, and she suspected how she sits all day had a lot to do with it.

So we looked into desks that would allow us to work while standing. You can spend thousands on fancy models that move up and down automatically. Or you can create your own setup with a few items from Ikea. (Google "A standing desk for $22'' and you'll find the instructions we used.)

A few of our colleagues have similar setups. One editor remarked that we are making the place look like a game of Whack-a-Mole, but I don't expect to be pounded on the head with a wooden mallet. A friend of Amber's remarked that he's too lazy to stand at work. To which Amber astutely observed: We're already working. What's lazy about that?

Mostly, our co-workers are interested to see how the experiment goes.

One immediate benefit: Standing burns more calories than sitting, and though we haven't been doing this long enough to lose weight, we do feel warmer, a good thing on chilly days.

Plus, my hip doesn't hurt. And I get to plop down on the sofa after work, without guilt.

I could dismantle the new setup in a few minutes. But that would involve messing around with all these wires in the back of the computer. My hip would hurt, I'd be cold — and it would be awkward to admit defeat.

All of which makes standing at work an activity that fits my life and is hard not to do. I'll keep you posted on our progress, and welcome hearing from any other recovering sitters.

Standing at desk may help with pain, burn more calories than sitting

01/23/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 23, 2014 3:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Before Janessa Shannon's death, parents traded accusations of abuse

    Crime

    TAMPA — Long before Janessa Shannon's remains were discovered in a Hillsborough County nature preserve, her parents tried to convince court officials that she was in danger.

    From her own family.

    Janessa Shannon, 13, was found dead July 12 in the Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Hillsborough County. [National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]
  2. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams

    Bucs

    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  3. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017

    Blogs

    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  4. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.