Sitting is Unhealthy
I read an article by Dr. Mercola recently. In his article Why Your Chair is Killing You, and What You Can Do About It, Mercola says that he tries to sit for no more than one hour a day. That number amazed me. Only one hour a day? Wow. Then I thought about my health goals. Dr. Mercola is in excellent shape for a man half his age. His methods and protocols are obviously working for him. So, I figured I would try sitting less. My goal is to work up to not sitting down all day. From the time I get up, until dinner time.
I started by standing while eating my breakfast and writing my daily Morning Pages. After that I went on with my typical routine. For the first week, my legs felt like I was lifting weights. I could feel the muscles in my lower back getting tired, too.I was kind of surprised because my legs are fairly strong. I walk and hike regularly, and I’m starting to bike regularly. I tried to focus on tightening my abdominal muscles to relieve the lower back pain. Sometime during the middle of the second week my legs stopped being sore, and my lower back was less sore.
I decided to stand until 10 am each day. Again, my legs felt like I was lifting weights. I noticed that my chronic back stiffness decreased, and my legs were a little more flexible than usual. I also had more energy. The early afternoon wave of exhaustion that I’ve dealt with for years went away. Instead of needing to lie down for an hour most afternoons, I needed the rest break 2 days out of 7. That’s an improvement.
Over the last two months, I’ve added time to my required standing. Now, I stand anytime I’m writing, and anytime I’m using the computer. I have not worked up to all day yet, but most days I don’t sit down until 1pm or so. Then, I sit and read for an hour and then stay on my feet until dinner time.
I can feel my body getting stronger, and my energy increasing. It’s had the added benefit of making me more productive and more creative than I’ve been lately. It could just be the change in routine, but I have more “brain energy.”
I’ve started doing squats, lunges, and balance exercises while I’m standing to write. I figure the added movement can only help build my strength and endurance. When I’m thinking about the next part of whatever I’m writing, I take one of several Yoga poses.
I’m planning on getting rid of my big, beautiful, executive desk and replacing it with a standing desk. I’ll have more room in my office, and my kids will be happy to be able to use the top of their homeschool cabinet again.
Experimenting with working standing up, and purposefully sitting less has reminded me that our bodies are designed to be active and in motion. The more activity and motion we can work into our daily routines, the healthier we become.
Here are a few more articles on why it’s unhealthy to sit as much as we typically do.