As the end of the year approaches, I find myself surrounded by people making incredible commitments to their health. They’re going to run marathons and swap the weekly pizza night for homemade kale and quinoa salads and, oh, do I want to join them for Dry January? (Erm, probably not, but thanks for asking.)
I’m proud of these friends who know that they’re worth the effort it takes to be healthy. I will be their biggest cheerleader.
I’m also over here, thinking … you guys know there are much easier ways to make a big impact, right?
Call me lazy (I like to call myself efficient, personally), but I’m all about finding ways to make the regular things I already do every day a little bit better for me. And the best place to start when trying to figure that out is by looking at what I spend a large portion of my day doing. If you’re like me and spend much of your workday at a desk, the answer might be, well, right below your keister.
Isn’t it crazy to think about how much effort we put forth at the gym and in the kitchen … and then we go and sit for eight hours a day?
Fortunately, that also means that one of the most overlooked but super simple resolutions ever is one you could — and maybe should — make this year. It’s as simple as vowing to spend less time sitting and more time standing or moving while you work. And I’ve got a few tips for making that resolution a reality.
How to Sit Less and Stand More
1. First, come up with a plan. As I discussed last month, even the fittest among us might struggle to go straight from sitting to standing (and, actually, your end goal shouldn’t be to stand all day, anyway — it’s all about mixing it up!) so think about what it is that you want to accomplish — and how that can realistically work with your schedule and duties. Can you set a reminder so that you get out of your chair for at least a few minutes every hour? Are there specific tasks you know you could do on your feet? Instead of just saying you want to stand more, set specific goals — both short term and longer term — so that you can truly tell whether or not you’re hitting the mark.
2. Then, make sure standing is an easy option. This will come as no surprise at this point, I’m sure, but my VARIDESK standing desk solution (which adjusts really easily from sitting to standing and back again) is one office item I can’t imagine living without, and I’ve encouraged everyone I know to get one of their own.
Of course, this was easy for me to implement because I have a home office and I’m the boss, so there’s nobody who’s gonna say no. But, if you’re in an office and the powers that be need a little convincing, make sure they know that a recent study out of Cornell University has shown that standing doesn’t just burn more calories than sitting, but it boosts productivity — significantly. If you’ve been dealing with back pain or other musculoskeletal issues, standing can also help with that.
3. Finally, look into ways to incorporate more movement during the day. Personally, I find this waaaay easier to do when I’m already standing — stepping back and stretching or even knocking out a quick 5- or 10-minute yoga flow or strength workout between meetings is an actual thing that happens in my life these days, guys. And a few years ago … it was decidedly not. VARIDESK has a few tools that make movement simple, too, like the ActiveMat Rocker (which allows you to swing one foot back and forth while standing at your station) and the Monitor Arm (which lets you move your monitor to loads of positions so you can work from more places without disrupting your desk).
Small changes might not seem quite as sexy as plotting a huge health overhaul, but they’re the key to creating habits that stick. And, if you think about it, changing the way you spend nearly half your waking hours — even subtly — isn’t actually so small a change at all.
How does your work space stack up? Are you able to stand and move or do you feel stuck in your seat? Remember, just because you have to be at your desk, that doesn’t mean you have to be sitting at your desk. —Kristen