Another Call for Standing Up

How's that standing desk thing working out for you?

As you may have already realized, I have adapted to a standing desk at my place of employment. Home for the summer now, I find myself doing most of my computer work sitting down. In fact, that sitting is not even at a desk. I’m sitting in a recliner with my feet up. (It makes the convenience of the laptop better, I think.)

Jumping up from their desk chairs to join the standing-is-the-new-smoking bandwagon, researchers in England have recommended that standing for two hours a day at the workplace might be more realistic than convincing people to exercise more regularly.

“The evidence is clearly emerging that a first ‘behavioral’ step could be simply to get people standing and moving more frequently as part of their working day,” the study authors reported online June 1 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

As I read on, however, I noticed something remarkably candid and unusual for a typical piece of health-related journalism. Here’s the tidbit I have in mind:

The researchers acknowledged that the materials they reviewed don’t prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between prolonged sitting and chronic illness.

What’s that? There’s no proof that standing will save you or that sitting will kill you? Then why have we been hearing all of this doom and gloom over the last couple of years? Should I, maybe, see if I can get the people at work to bring my desk and chair back in from wherever they took them?

Honestly, I don’t care whether standing helps to reduce the chance of heart disease or obesity or diabetes or any of those metabolic syndrome bogeymen. I’m pretty sure that standing won’t hurt me, and here’s what I have observed over the past six months.

  • I burn enough extra calories from standing to eat a couple of pieces of fruit. In other words, I earn extra food.
  • Without thinking about it, I give my legs and core a low-intensity but long workout by standing. When your muscles are engaged, they get strengthened.
  • I feel better at the end of the day. My back and neck don’t hurt from bad posture in that chair. Isn’t that the ultimate victory?

There’s not some big spiritual message here. Sometimes the benefits of doing the right thing are mostly found in the flesh. But living better in the flesh ultimately honors God. So maybe there is a spiritual message.