Is sitting the new smoking?

Is sitting the new smoking?

There’s been a lot of talk in the last couple of years about how prolonged sitting is bad for you. Sitting all day can be blamed for contributing to everything from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and also lowers overall life expectancy. Bottom line? We sit too much. We sit on trains, cars, and subways. We don’t walk as much as we used to (or ever, if you happen to live in Los Angeles). And here’s the surprising part: Apparently, this lack of mobility cannot be made up in spin class. Sitting for upwards of 6 hours a day can quite literally kill you, even if you work out! What? That last little tidbit was enough to push me over the line, so I started my shopping research.

These are the purported benefits of standing desks:

Increased Productivity: Some studies suggest that standing increases energy levels.
Lower obesity risk: You can burn an extra 329 calories a week for every hour you stand instead of sitting! (as long as you don’t stand and eat banana chips all day like I do).
Reduced cancer risk: Particularly breast and colon cancers.
Better Posture: Standing strengthens your core. #mineisasoftcenter
Longer Life: In a 2011 study, Americans increased their life expectancy by an average of two years just by standing for 3 hours a day instead of six.

There’s no disputing that standing desks are all the rage and while the jury’s still out about whether or not these desks are really effective, I read that you definitely burn more calories standing than sitting, so that’s good enough for me! I’m standing at my new desk while I write this, natch.

If you do decide to take the plunge and buy a standing desk, there are some things to consider:

1. They’re ugly. I’m not going to sugar coat this: Standing desks are fairly uninspiring in the looks department. They’re all about function and less about form, so until Tom Dixon comes out with an adjustable desk, prepare to lower your expectations.


2. You want the best of both worlds: Look for a desk that has an adjustable stand/sit option. We purchased desks that can go from standing to sitting with the touch of a button. There are dangling cords involved, so make sure you have an outlet handy! If you don’t, there are some manual crank versions at IKEA.


3. Transition slowly: Don’t stand all day from the beginning. Start by standing 20 minutes at a time and add more standing time once you get used to it. You’ll be surprised how quickly your body adjusts (and you’ll sleep better at night, too)!


4. Softly, softly: Take it easy on your knees, hips, and ankles by using a gel mat or soft shoes when you stand. I brought in a pair of my beloved Adidas Adissage slippers to wear when my feet get tired.


5. Set your desk height correctly: Don’t hunch over your standing desk! Your computer screen should sit at eye level and your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle. If you ever feel uncomfortable, make adjustments. MK note: I read that bit after the above photo was taken. My desk is much higher now!


6. Keep Moving: Standing is only half the story, but everyone agrees that increasing mobility is good for you. You need to stretch and move every hour. Take the stairs, walk to lunch and make a point moving daily to really cash in on the benefits. BTW: Walking to the break room for a doughnut doesn’t count.


We’ve had our standing desks for almost a week and I’ve noticed that I have increased energy and productivity. Yay! Zico and I crank up the music and have a little dance while we work. It’s awesome! Plus, I don’t have a constant excuse to walk over to the studio to eat a bagel or granola bar, so there’s that. #sofarsogood