On Safety

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Safety standup

June 20, 2014

Sitting for long periods is not healthy; nothing new there. But one man recently decided to go to the extreme to avoid taking a seat.

Writer Dan Kois went an entire month standing throughout the day, with few exceptions; he’d lay down to sleep and, for safety reasons, sit while driving or tying his shoes. In his recent New York Magazine article, he details his experience, and explains the project was inspired as a means to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

At the end of the 30 days, Kois went back to sitting – but not nearly as much as he used to.

“I have found that that month of standing has really made it easy on a day-to-day basis for me to conceive of, and then enact, the simple process of standing up, for say, 10 minutes an hour, which seems, from most of the scientists that I talked to, to be a happy medium,” he told NPR.

At the National Safety Council, some employees are being fitted with a standing desk. One of my colleagues, Bryan O’Donnell, has had one for a couple of months. The desk allows him to sit or stand while using the computer.

“I began to experience discomfort in my arms and neck while sitting at my desk,” he told me. The council’s ergonomics expert suggested a standing workstation, to which Bryan agreed, hoping to relieve his pain and improve his long-term health.

And it has. The discomfort has subsided and Bryan now goes at least half the day standing. When asked if he would do a 30-day standing challenge, Bryan admitted it would be tough to accomplish, and he enjoys having the option to sit when his legs or feet get tired.

“It’s nice to have the option. It’s all about whatever’s most comfortable,” he said.

How often do you sit during the day? Would you stand up for an entire month to improve your health? Let me know in the comments.

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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