Monday, March 1, 2010

Sitting and Standing


I have been very busy recently with work and coming to terms with my future in a lucrative but frustrating profession. Not surprisingly, my back--which is the barometer of my inner life--decided to go wonky about two weeks ago. I was actually in a fair bit of physical pain (just to add to my emotional upset!) for a few days and was starting to get quite worried about what might happen. I have had three ruptured discs in my life. The first one ended with my having emergency spinal surgery while the other two left me with nerve damage. So it's easy to see why I get really scared when my back starts to hurt.

The good news is that my back seems to be getting back to normal (3 steps forward, 1 step back--pardon the pun) and I am once again picking up the pieces and moving on.

Here's the other good news: I have an interesting little article I'd like to recommend for your reading pleasure.

Stand Up While You Read This! appeared in the New York Times a few days ago. According to this article, the chair is your enemy:

It doesn’t matter if you go running every morning, or you’re a regular at the gym. If you spend most of the rest of the day sitting — in your car, your office chair, on your sofa at home — you are putting yourself at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and an early death. In other words, irrespective of whether you exercise vigorously, sitting for long periods is bad for you.

I find this premise both depressing and fascinating. In today's world, how many of us have really active jobs? If you work in a daycare, or a hospital you can be easily run off your feet, but most of us work at extremely sedentary jobs. And even if you do move around a lot, like nurses, you can be out of shape, overweight and malnourished. How many nurses are so overworked that they eat junk food off the corner of their desks?

Although the article does tend to present a fairly gloomy point of view, there is perhaps some hope.

The message I'm getting is to mix it up. Inasmuch as possible, take a "move" break frequently. Get up from your desk. Go to the washroom. Get a glass of water...

Just take a few steps. Frequently. Then take a few more!


  1. My husband mentioned this article too. It's good for me that librarians rarely sit when on public duty. I guess that's why we have to wear "sensible" shoes. I'll take any advantage I can get. Thanks for this interesting article.

  2. When I do Continuous Care - sitting at the patient's bedside,
    I get up - every hour on the hour - and move around for like 5 minutes.
    Then, after 12 hours of work, I have snuck in an extra hour of movement that I wouldn't have had otherwise!
    Good article!
    Hope you are well.

  3. This feels like ominous reading for me with a very desk-bound job in IT. A good reminder to move some more !