The Joy of Standing
More than four years ago, we got rid of the desk chair in our office, replacing the old cushioned throne with a Swiss ball, one of those large, semi-squishy orbs that force the sitter to engage her core. The ball did wonders for our back.
But the old sitting problem persisted: our hip flexors, locked in an “L” position for hours at a time, were as tight as an unopened bottle cap. Then, about two years ago, we switched from sitting to standing. And, as the man once wrote, that has made all the difference.
Taking the road less traveled isn’t as innovative as it once seemed. These days, an understanding of under-standing and over-sitting seems to be catching hold. The ergonomic benefits of standing are now well known.
Homo sapiens, of course, wasn’t designed to sit. We’re climbers, crouchers, squatters. Our ancestors didn’t have chairs. They spent more time on their feet than off them.
In that spirit, we try to avoid sitting the entire day. Except for toilet visits, from sun-up to sun-down we stand, finally planting our tushy on a chair around dinner time. The benefits seem to be many — a lengthening and loosening of tight muscles; the awakening and engagement of previously somnolent parts of the body; “effortless” calorie burning — and the downside negligible. Posture improves. Foot strength improves. Back pain disappears.
Thanks to our altered lifestyle, a seat on a crowded Southwest Airlines flight feels like international business class, almost too comfortable. Maybe meditation and diet and exercise and absence of stress and a general attitude of gratitude deserve the credit. But we’ve got ourselves convinced that by getting up, standing up, rising hopefully to the sun — we feel better at 52 than 42.