“Sitting is the new smoking!” It’s the modern-day meme, with study after study recognizing the health dangers. In response, standing workstations are showing up everywhere. But standing is not the antidote to sitting – movement is!
You can’t undo the effects of sitting all day with an hour of exercise either. “Active couch potatoes” are still at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and early death.
You may have little choice about your work environment, but your home is your castle. How can you make it a dynamic, movement-friendly domain?
First, create space by reducing the amount of furniture. You’ll have room to pull out your yoga mat to stretch, squat or practice your plank. Remember when you were a kid and lying on the floor was the best way to watch a movie? It’s still an option.
Keep some props out to remind you to move. A yoga block and stretching strap, resistance bands, foam roller and an assortment of balls (excellent for releasing tension in nooks and crannies of your feet or back). Jill Miller’s new book “The Roll Model” has great routines to roll out just about every body part!
Add yoga bolsters, meditation or other floor cushions to vary the way you sit. Perfect with a short-legged table for dining or reading.
Install bars for hanging and working on pull-ups – super upper body strengtheners. If you have space, run a length of monkey bars along a hallway! Always be sure to follow installation instructions carefully to prevent accidents or injuries.
Hack Your Home Office
Choose a height-adjustable workstation that allows you the freedom to change position – sit on a chair or exercise ball, perch on a stool or stand. Change it up frequently – at a minimum, take a 5-minute movement break every hour.
If you don’t have a dedicated home office, you can easily move your laptop from a low stool or coffee table to your kitchen or bar-height counter, even an ironing board (the original adjustable height workstation?).
Even standing workstations can be height adjustable. This Wall-Mounted Standing Desk from Gereghty Desk Co. looks very cool; reminds me of a spine.
Image: Gereghty Desk Co.
There are lots of DIY options for standing desks too; here are 10 Ikea-hacks. And this completely portable option: Storkstand. UPDATE (January, 2016): There’s now an affordable ($25.US) American-made option, the Oristand.
Move Your DNA
I highly recommend Katy Bowman’s “Move Your DNA” to learn more about how natural movement can restore your health. It’s a fun read with a mix of science and specific instructions on how to live better in our modern sedentary world. If you need help determining the best correctives for you, consider coming in for a private restorative exercise session.
How do you make room to move in your home? Please share your thoughts and suggestions.