Sitting vs. Standing at Work: Exercises, Expert Tips, And Warnings

Standing Desks, Sitting at Work, and Staying Healthy at Work

Just a few years ago, we learned that sitting for long periods was akin to smoking, as far as the negative effects it has on our health. And for most of us in the workforce — let’s face it, we’re sitters — the news is grim: sitting for our 8 hour workday makes us 40% likelier to die within 15 years than those who sit for less than half the day.

New habits — walking meetings, standing desks or even fidgeting — can help combat the time spent sedentary, but if you’re like us, you’re always looking for more ideas to put in your arsenal.

This week, we’ve rounded up links with the best advice to get active, maintain your work-life balance, and to stretch those achy muscles that creep up on us during a long afternoon at our computer monitor. Enjoy!

Are You Sitting Down?

You might want to sit down as you read this. And check your sitting posture. Are you slumped over a bit, or have your shoulders rounded forward? And, more importantly, are you stiff or sore?

If your back has a crick from the way you sit, you need to think outside the aspirin bottle. Fixing ‘Computer Guy’ Back Problems to Have More Comfortable & Productive Work Sessions,” from Medium, gets you started by listing the top five things to do to reduce office-desk-related pain.

The tips focus on things you can do before you sit down to work in order to have an easier and pain-free day once you’re there. One tip is an exercise that strengthens your back and stretches your hamstrings (there’s a video to watch, and even though it’s full of simple stretches, it’s more challenging than you think).

Other tips offer detailed advice, complete with diagrams, on how to arrange your sitting or standing desk to maintain good posture. Following these tips require an investment in time, but they are a great way to chase the aches and pains away, and to keep them gone.

I’d Like a Workout to Go, Please

If you think lunchtime is only for eating, Myles Worthington, columnist for Outside magazine, urges you to Make the Most of Your Lunch Break — not by trying out that tasty new taco place that opened on the corner, but by exercising. Yes, exercising.

Not a believer? Worthington says mid-day exercise improves our mood and focus, and makes us happier at work. Plus, he offers workout ideas tailor-made for that small pocket of time a lunch break allows for.

The advice ranges from the very practical (running the staircase in a nearby parking garage) to the semi-ridiculous (taking your next conference call in the plank position sounds like a good way to end up on YouTube), his six tips will remind you of all the ways you could be squeezing in a workout, no matter how busy you are.

Are You Still Sitting Down?

Is your work a pain in the neck? Literally? If so, personal trainer Roy Pumphrey has 10 Exercises to Fix Your Desk Jockey Posture for you to try.

Sitting at our desks for hours can actually change the positions of our bones and the length of our muscles, Pumphrey explains, creating a “new normal” that is anything but normal. He calls this as Desk Jockey Posture.

Pumphrey has assembled quick exercises and stretches that you can perform (most, right at your desk) to ease kinks and stretch muscles. Some are so compelling, you might break away from the article to stand in a doorway for chest opener or spend your next conference call performing a trap stretch.

Some of these exercises will look a little funny in your office, so save them for home. (Or go for it, if you’re brave and/or have an office door.) You might find yourself taping a list of them to your computer monitor (at an ergonomic angle, of course) so you remember to do them. Your neck will thank you.

Staying Healthy at Work (and Beyond)

It’s long past Labor Day and summer vacation is a distant memory. Fall often brings a renewed intensity at work: the pace gets serious and the hours can get long. Sound familiar? If work-life balance is getting to be a struggle, celeb trainer Harley Pasternak has 5 Do’s & Don’ts for Staying Motivated in Your Healthy Routine.”

Pasternak covers the gambit from diet to exercise to sleep. Some tips might be different than what you’d expect (like this gem: don’t count calories), but all point the way towards maintaining the balance you’ve already built and keeping motivated to stay the course.

It’s a quick read, but it comes with some surprises. Especially check out tip #4 — that is about the only time you will ever hear that piece advice in the workplace! If your work-life balance needs balancing, you’ll find inspiration here.

How to Use a Standing Desk Without Annoying Your Coworkers

If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a standing desk, NY Times reporter Marisa Meltzer’s can’t-miss article is for you. How to Use a Standing Desk Without Annoying Your Coworkers guides you through the ins and outs of working-while-standing.

How to not seem like you’re snooping — and how to handle being gawked at yourself — are two of the tips she covers, which seem both important and inevitable as you negotiate your new desk.

And since everybody is wondering it already, Meltzer went ahead and answered the question What to Wear at a Standing Desk,” too. High-heeled shoes? Not a chance. But on the plus side, you don’t have to worry about wrinkling your clothes when you sit down — and there are more tips, too. If you’re a stand-up employee, you’re bound to learn something new.

Could saving an hour or more a day help you leave work earlier — and free up time for a run or a trip to the gym? Discover how teams are using Redbooth to save time. Explore customer case studies >>