NYC is the perfect place to people watch. With a dense population of people who are always busy, and always seemingly headed to their most important appointment, you can stand, almost invisible to those around you, and watch what people do. And on the train, you can see people fight each other to get into a subway car to try to find a seat.
They (we, because I do it too) usually sit, not because they’re wearing high heeled shoes and need to rest their aching feet. Not because they are carrying lots of heavy bags that are threatening do beak their arms off if they don’t put them down. Not because they’re carrying a baby. Just because there’s an available seat and they want to find it so they can sit down.
Why is sitting so desired? Maybe you’ve heard the quote:
Why walk when you can run? Why sit when you can stand?
This quote suggests that a seat isn’t actually something we should be chasing at all. But why not? Several reasons, including:
1. Weight-loss potential: Studies reveal that standing instead of sitting helps you burn more calories – up to 50 more calories per hour when standing, instead of sitting. Trading your eight hour sitting at a desk for a stand-up desk could help you torch an additional 400 calories, all before you hit the gym.
But why does that happen? The answer is chemistry (it’s always chemistry)
Turns out your body releases a hormone when you’re standing, that just isn’t released when you sit.
More data on actual sit vs. stand users in this article on Alliance.org
2. What else happens when you stand: Standing usually leads to walking. If you stand to answer the phone, most people will start to pace. And if standing is good, walking is better (of course, running would be even better than that, but walking is almost as good)
3. Concentration: When I was in high school, I was advised to review my classwork while I stood in the bus on my way home. It seems the brain is able to engage better while you’re standing, so it’s easier to problem-solve, to understand new concepts, and to retain information. (Ah, if only I had heeded this advice!)
4. Posture: Sitting compresses the spine and tightening the muscles. No wonder sometimes you get up from sitting with a backache!
Of course, there are people using standing desks. And you can choose to buy one, like this Adjustable-Height Stand Up Desk with Monitor Mount or this Traveler Folding Stand Up Desk option that allows you to manipulate your workspace wherever you are. Of course, if you’re handy, you can also make a DIY adaptation yourself. But even if you don’t use a standing desk at work, I bet there are several hours a day that you spend sitting on the train or bus, sitting to chat at lunch, sitting on the couch to unwind at the end of the day.
I’ve also added this book to my reading list: Scared Sitless: The Office Fitness Book
- Have you heard the dangers of sitting for extended periods?
- Would you consider standing at work?
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