Standup Desks – An Excellent Digital Detachment Strategy

You’ve probably heard by now that “sitting is the new smoking.”

But have you done anything about it?

In 2016, knowing you should adopt a standup desk at least part of the day is arguably much like knowing you should quit smoking.  The evidence for the massive health benefits of reducing your sitting activity is as slam-dunk conclusive as the solution is simple: “just stand up and move around” .is as easy to grasp “just stop smoking”

And yet … for almost all of us … standing up and moving around more often at work is as difficult a task as that of a nicotine junky trying to stop inhaling tobacco smoke.

It is just very difficult to take action on implementing a standup situation at work.

Where the culture is concerned, desk-sitting is at a place very similar to smoking in the 1980s.  The secret is out (sitting kills and the solution is simple) and yet a retirement-age Don Draper still puffs away in the comfort of his workplace, restaurants still have ghettoized “non-smoking” sections, and the Marlboro man still roams the ranges of the broadcast airwaves.

So it is with standup desks in the workplace.  There is a decent core of early adopters, but the culture at large just hasn’t caught up.  Desk-sitting is just incredibly deeply ingrained in the workplace.

So, mere inertia helps keep us seated even though most of us know by now that sitting is terrible for our health.

Presumably, you’d like to make a change in your own life/workplace.

So – the place to start is you have to listen to this podcast. [Undoing the Damage of Chronic Sitting – Art of Manliness Podcast]

In this podcast interview, Dr. Kelly Starrett makes as coherent and compelling a case against sitting and for standup desks and “mobility practices” as I’ve ever heard.  Dr. Starrett managed to appeal to my intellect, my emotions, and my thirst for compelling narratives and tidy explanations all at once.  He’s consumed all the research, formulated all the stories, and, most importantly, done all the work necessary to incorporate a “mobility practice” into his own life.

Run, don’t walk … or stand, don’t sit to listen to this podcast.  I just can’t recommend it highly enough as inspiration to reform your old sitting habit and implement something much healthier in its place.  Here also is Starrett’s main website, which you can visit for a deeper dive.

Well that sounds great, Brian, but how is implementing a standup desk / mobility practice related to digital detachment?

Standing up to work on your desktop of laptop is an excellent example of digital detachment.

The over-arching theme of this blog is that you can’t reasonably expect to withdraw completely from digital technology, so what you need to do is make the attempt to engage with this technology mindfully — as much on your own terms as possible.

Here’s what happens when you take the initiative to make your work station more standing-friendly:

You take decisive action to change a status quo that’s been handed to you — a situation you didn’t create that was not set up with your best interests in mind.  This situation is you sitting at a desk for eight or more hours a day, breaking your body down slowly but devastatingly as the years go by.

This is very much akin to you heedlessly consuming television or being glued to your mobile device … despite knowing it’s bad for you.  Everyone else is doing it, and it’s much easier just to get along and go along.

Setting up a standing work station is very akin to telling your colleagues you’ll only be processing emails at two set times during the workday.  You will encounter funny looks at best, resentment somewhere in the middle, and outright resistance at the worst end of the spectrum.

But you go ahead and do it anyway.

Here’s another digital detachment tie-in with standup desks and mobility: Standing up immediately changes your working relationship with your device. It’s no exaggeration to say your neurochemistry looks different — and more beneficial — when you work standing up as opposed to sitting down.

You are more aware of your body.  Your body is more engaged and active within itself.  You are quantifiably more human supporting standing up than sitting down.

And yet you’re still working away on an incredibly powerful computing device…

I’d call that digital detachment at its finest.  More links and information to come.