Believe it or not, this is not a piece about patriotism. It’s not even about being uniquely American. It’s about being more productive and alert while working. See, Thomas Jefferson had something in common with quite a number of other world leaders, MANY authors, and one of the most creative minds to ever walk the planet.
They all used the now fashionable standing desk. (The picture below is Winston Churchill.)
Now that the latest medical saying is “sitting is the new smoking” and alarms are sounding – legitimately – that sitting all day can contribute to a whole host of medical issues (obesity, heart disease, cancer, etc.) despite work-out habits, the age old standing desk is getting a second look. The first people to rediscover the blood flow and brain focusing trick of standing all day were the techies out in Silicon Valley (Facebook, to be specific). Their enthusiasm carried over to fashion.
Now, we in the working world see standing workers accommodated everywhere. One of this writer’s favorite coffee shops has two areas for people who stand. Workplaces are increasingly allowing Varidesks and work spaces designed for standing rather than sitting. Even airports have places to plug in that allow the user to stand. Ernest Hemingway had this set up while on vacation.
Why any of us does this is a matter, usually, of choice. Not everyone does it for better health. Personally, being just five feet tall, the world was made for bigger people, and standing eliminates some of the results of sitting in chairs that are too high with pans that are too long. (NASTY edema developed, and any number of aches and pains.) However, here are some tips from long time users of standing desks to get into the habit:
- Stand on a rubber mat to help your feet.
- Adjust the desk to fit you. This will be different for everyone.
- Move around a bit while standing. (This writer does arm exercises, and a number of stretches in addition to running the steps while doing laundry.)
- For standing desks at home, be creative. Counters, ironing boards, extra shelves and a lot more are all fair game to be used as a standing desk.
This writer – a profession that requires a lot of time sitting – will add easing into standing all day. It is tiring for those not used to it, and the muscles used to stand with good posture need to be conditioned to holding you up for hours. (As a classical singer, and choir member, I’m used to standing with good posture for a couple hours at a time, but could really feel all the torso muscles working the first day toward the end of my allotted time.) However, in the long run, the benefits will completely outweigh any muscle toning going on now. (May help with voice support, too. 🙂 )
So, every day Americans sitting at their desks all day can follow in Jefferson’s footsteps by STANDING UP, and joining these historical figures in using standing desks.
- Ernest Hemingway
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- Winston Churchill
- Otto von Bismark
- Charles Dickens
- Virginia Wolfe
- Donald Rumsfeld
- Benjamin Franklin