The purpose of this blog is to encourage you to get a standing desk before it’s too late. I wish I could undo the years of sitting that have taken an irreversible toll on my musculoskeletal system. I was a hardcore sitter for over 30 years. As an undergrad and graduate student I was an insecure overachiever. I sat studying for long periods of time as did many of my peers who took their studies seriously. My hard work paid off and I landed a job as a management consultant for a top firm whose competitive advantage was “the 18-hour associate.”
Sitting for 18 hours a day became pretty routine for me. The years of sitting turned into decades, and before I knew it I had become a chronic sitter with more than 30 years of hard core sitting under my belt. During this time I never really gave sitting a second thought, nor did I ever consider that sitting might some day become an occupational hazard of the career I chose. But sitting, as with age, has a way of sneaking up on you. I really thought I was doing everything right. I exercised regularly, ate a healthy diet, and tried to take care of myself.
I just wish I had known earlier in my life what I know now. About 5 years ago, I developed a hip flexor injury that has become chronic. I thought it was a running injury, but I’m now convinced that my sitting was the primary culprit. When you sit, your hip flexor muscles get short. If you sit for long periods of time, even an hour of exercise isn’t enough to overcome your muscles’ tendency to stay short. I’ve been lucky to not have developed the back problems that often accompany sitting.
For 30 years, I never really felt any symptoms of sitting. It’s like people who have heart disease but are asymptomatic. One day they just have a heart attack with no warning. That’s how it was for me. One day I was sitting, and then I quickly reached a point where I just couldn’t sit anymore.
I’m certain that if I had used a standing desk throughout my career, I wouldn’t be suffering from the musculoskeletal issues I now have. If only I had known.
But now standing desks are commonplace and affordable. You can get a desktop model for under $200 and a sit-stand desk for under $400. Today people have the awareness that sitting is bad for you, and the research, which is widely available, is compelling. As a sitting society what we need to do is to be proactive and think about prevention. You can prevent musculoskeletal problems by adopting a standing workstyle now. Don’t be like me and wait until you have a problem. Take control of your health and get a standing desk today.