We have all gotten the message by now that sitting is the most dangerous activity in the world besides commercial tuna fishing.
Sitting in a chair all day can cause obesity, heart disease, cancer and early death. As someone whose fingers are practically epoxied to the keyboard, I have managed so far to escape death; however, I am plagued with chronic sitting-related injuries such as torticollis, which sounds scary and makes people express concern for me until they find out it means, basically, “stiff neck.”
Some companies realize it would be bad for business to slowly kill off their office workers, so they are offering alternatives to sitting such as a “standing desk” rigged up to a treadmill. You know the company that makes all those “As Seen on TV” products? From the CEO on down, the workers there sit on balls instead of chairs, as I reported in an article about desk-bound workers looking for ways to get fit. (You can’t slump on a ball. Your abs have to work to keep from rolling over.)
Researching the article, I learned about the FitDesk, a stationary bike that lets you pedal and use a laptop at the same time. As I’m pretty sure it’s a legit tax write-off, I had one delivered to the house. Not only does my FitDesk get me moving and rev up my metabolism, but it’s also turned out to be a great time-management tool. That’s because the only time I read email or Facebook is while I am pedaling.
I can’t get any serious writing done at the FitDesk, but it’s perfect for mindless computer tasks. I also can’t get any serious exercise done at the FitDesk, but it’s not meant to replace cardio.
What the FitDesk does is boost productivity by condensing and putting boundaries around the time I spend on email and social media. It’s not that the FitDesk is so grueling that I hasten through my email correspondence; on the contrary, I quite enjoy pedaling. However, I am much more aware of the passage of time when I’m pedaling as opposed to just sitting, so a “quick peek” at Facebook doesn’t turn into 30 minutes of gaping at cat videos and footage of Michelle Obama exercising. (She cheats at pushups. Still, I wouldn’t want to arm wrestle her.)
Those of us with desk jobs can’t simply decide we’re going to be farmers or carhops. But too much time in chairs is deadly. To quote the First Lady, don’t just sit there — “Let’s Move!”