These days, you don’t have to look too far for the latest studies (valid and reliable or not) on modern health risks – ten minutes after signing into Facebook, you’re likely to scroll through at least a dozen shared posts detailing the perils of…well, probably everything you currently do on a daily basis.
My husband, Brett, usually mocks these posts (and okay, I’ll admit…I join in on the fun…it’s how we bond sometimes…), but after reading about how a sedentary desk job can affect various facets of your life, and after feeling phantom, unpredictable foot pain on several runs last year, I found myself convinced that sitting all day is more problematic than I previously thought it was. After all, I would walk miles and miles in college and grad school across sprawling campuses, and transitioned into running pretty easily, so why would my body suddenly rebel against me like this? Methinks a big girl job or two that involves sitting all day at a desk might play a role in this.
The research on standing desks is mixed, but experts across various disciplines agree that staying in one position all day – in this case, sitting for 8 hours or more, every workday- increases your risk of heart disease and some cancers, and weakens key muscles. Welp, which muscles, might you ask? The muscles that you use for running. And unfortunately, running before or after work is not enough to counteract the damage being done.
So when my boss offered the chance to try standing desks at our workplace, I was definitely interested in participating! Not only does a standing desk feel like a mini-office space renovation (seriously, it really opens up a room), it’s a way to fit some movement into your day. Like I said, the research is inconclusive on standing desks, so I’m not convinced you have to stand the entire day to reap the benefits. I have a raised desk and tall chair, so I can sit or stand whenever I want without having to adjust the equipment, although I have tested the adjustable desk and I like that option as well.
My current practice is to stretch and stand (again, the key is to get some movement in) for at least 45 minutes to an hour after an hour of sitting. Standing at my desk is starting to feel more normal, and it’s becoming easier to send out a few emails and get some work done while standing for over an hour. Of course, meetings that run a bit long make this goal a little less attainable. I have noticed a little muscle soreness while transitioning, but nothing severe enough to make me discontinue this budding habit.
If you’re not convinced, or your workplace is slow to adopt this new office trend, here are some options for making sure sitting all day doesn’t affect your running:
- Taking short walk breaks every couple of hours to fill up a water bottle or chat with a colleague about a project
- Using your break or lunch time to go for a walk (great if you have a huge building or access to a tunnel or skywalk!)
- Standing at your desk to stretch and do some quick drills, like high-knees or quad stretches)
Do you have a standing desk at work? Do you like it? Let me know in the comments.