Standing desks have become more and more popular, for a good reasons. Studies show that for every hour you sit down, your life expectancy decreases by two hours. To compare, every cigarette a person smokes reduces their life expectancy by 11 minutes. That’s right, sitting is the new smoking.
While a standing desk might be an improvement, there’s more to it than that. According to Kelly Starrett, author of “Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World,” you can’t simply replace sitting with standing. Kelly, who has a Ph.D. in physical therapy, says the body was designed for full range of motion. He suggests replacing sitting with movement, not just standing.
He explained, “When we address or teach about strength and conditioning, or about behaviors or patterns, we try to make what we call blocked behaviors, blocked patterns, where you don’t have to make a decision; the decision is made for you.”
He continued, “For example, when I come back after lunch and there’s no chair. Instead, I go up to my standing moving station at my desk. I’m automatically going to do the right thing. I don’t have to make a decision about raising my desk or getting out of the chair.”
So What Do We Do About It?
Humans are supposed to be able to sit cross-legged on the ground and work on the ground. Kelly suggests sitting on the floor or on an exercise ball instead of a chair, in order to improve health and well-being. If your body is lacking range of motion, you run the risk of getting hurt. A movement imbalance generally leads to some type of injury over time. It’s not just about standing instead of sitting. It’s about keeping your body flexible.
Kelly also suggests using a foam roller or getting a massage every two weeks to activate soft tissues. In his book, he talks about the importance of posture and mobility, and making sure all of your muscles are being stretched and used. After all, each part is connected to another part, and they all work together to keep you healthy and strong.
“We’re not just a bone system, we’re not just a muscular system, and we’re not just a connective tissue fascia system. We are a system of systems,” he explained.
A recent study found that your ability to rise off the floor from a seated position can predict your risk for early mortality. If you need to use both hands and knees or an object to help you get up off the floor, it’s likely that you are weak or have poor range of motion.