I've been undergoing physical therapy for my back. Not surprisingly, I’ve lost some degrees of flexibility and mobility over the years. I spend a lot of my day sitting at a computer or in a chair talking with people. I don’t spend an excess of time walking around. I do walk the dog most every day and throw in some gardening, but my primarily sedentary life has gotten me to physical therapy.
I was talking with my physical therapist about my life style and he pointed out some things which prompted me to write this post. He wants me to get a standing work station so I can both sit and stand when I'm at the computer. He said going back and forth between sitting and standing would be good for me. He also told me that sitting in chairs is a relatively new phenomenon. While chairs in one form or another have been around a long time, they actually were not commonly found until the 16th Century. He thinks as a species we weren’t really designed to sit around so much, so I need to get up and move around to get better connected with my primal self.
Given my nature I needed to do some research on the benefits of standing desks. The vast majority of studies support the overall value of not sitting so much and standing more. It seems the best approach is to mix it up. You stand. You sit. You move.
My physical therapist told me that some schools now are giving their students standing desks. In the workplace more and more people are now standing while at their computers and it makes good sense to provide students with that option as well. The school desks actually have a fidget bar at the base so kids can fiddle around with it. While it might be counterintuitive, the research says students are more focused when they have the fidget option. I think we all need the fiddle option somewhere in our lives.
One other thing my therapist told me that sparked my interest involved sleeping. As our mattresses have evolved they provide us with a greater degree of comfort and thus we move around less in our sleep. When people had less comfortable beds they moved more. They adjusted themselves more frequently and while they were not as comfortable they were more flexible.
So, now my sedentary life style, comfortable mattress and desk chair need to share the blame for my aching back. I guess I'll be standing up more when I write, doing my stretching exercises every day and endeavoring to keep my body moving more. Well, that is what I should do. I will find out what I will do. Pain, though, is usually a good motivator.