Look After Yourself - Health And Sitting

This is not the recommended sitting position

We all know that sitting too much is bad for us:
This applies to any desk job. And for writers, that's most of our time.

Some people turn to standing desks as an alternative (you can read about it here and here).

This was a "standing desk" setup I made in my old workplace (when I was working for an organisation). I was the only person stood up in a huge open-plan office. But it was comfortable and fun, and I could display my trophies for being an awesome librarian. Note the use of the mouse in my left hand, to prevent a recurrence of RSI in my right.

Even without a standing desk, there's lots you can do if you are a writer. Are you dictating a scene? Are you proofing your audio book and listening to the chapters sent back by your narrator? Are you listening to MP3s of a computer voice reading out your draft chapters as part of your editing process? For all of those, and more: do it standing, or (even better) walk around slowly.

After all, standing permanently is not ideal. Standing all the time is bad. Sitting all the time is bad. It's balance we need. That's why I stood in my employer's workplace, but worked sat down at home, rather than standing all the time.

Also - make sure you get up regularly for a stretch, a walk, a glass of water, a run; take a cup of tea into the garden and smell the flowers; do a few sit-ups or press-ups before going back to your desk. It all helps. But please avoid sitting still in one position for hours every day. The damage from a sedentary lifestyle is slow and long-term. Don't let it creep up on you.



Unknown said...

If you work at home get a dog ( no I haven't got one ), do gardening, walk to the shops, spread chores throughout the day, keep your computer upstairs and run up and down stairs in between previous activities. Ironically in an office situation it is probably smokers who spend the least time sitting down as they are always going outside for a cigarette!

Karl Drinkwater said...

Good points! My cat regularly forces me to go downstairs with her (only to discover that she hasn't run out of biscuits after all).

I've also agreed to do some dog walking on Monday, to help someone out, which should be fun. :-)

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice - office workers are increasingly being encouraged to take frequent mini breaks of 1 min or so every 30 minutes - just stand up and stretch tall at your desk, move a bit, then sit back down. In open plan offices this is often seen as a bit weird but the more people who do it, it'll become normal. Naturally, as a yoga teacher I would also advise going to yoga classes, or, find some online yoga videos and doing those.

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