Friday, August 1, 2014

time for a stand up break

Without a doubt the worst part of my job is sitting in a cubicle all day staring at a computer screen. Don’t get me wrong - I love everything about what I do - I just sometimes wish I could do it somewhere else: on a bench in the park, at a standing desk, in a room with natural light.

Lately, I’ve been doing some very design-intensive stuff. Hour after hour I’ll be staring at a screen until I come to and realize I have a massive headache and am a little bit dehydrated. I’ve told myself a thousand times that I should get up and move more often, but I can never remember.

So that’s when I thought - there’s gotta be an app for that. And guess what. There is!

Meet Stand App. When you open the app for the first time, it gives you a lot of scary statistics like:
  • With the advent of TV, computers and the desk job, we’re sitting down more than ever in history: 9.3 hours a day, even more time than we spend sleeping (7.7 hours).
  • Sedentary lifestyles lead to: Type 2 diabetes, obesity, higher mortality rate, cardiovascular disease, poor cholesterol, high blood pressure and early death.
  • As soon as you sit: electric activity in the leg muscles shuts off, calorie burning drops to 1 per minute, enzymes that help break down fat drop 90 percent.
  • After 2 hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent.
  • After 24 hours, insulin effectiveness drops 24 percent and risk of diabetes rises.
  • Sitting 6+ hours per day makes you up to 40 percent likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3 hours. Even if you exercise.

Okay, now that you’ve heard that warm and fuzzy message...

You can set up the app to go off every ___ minutes. I choose 30. So every 30 minutes my phone tells me it’s time for a stand up break. The break is five minutes long and usually gives you some kind of stretch, exercise or task to do.

The first task it gave me? Wall push-ups. In the video the woman doing wall push-ups is in some kind of secluded corner cubicle that doesn’t exist in real life. If I started doing wall push-ups, a) the wall of my cubicle might fall over and b) my coworker across the aisle would look at me like I’m crazy. Plus, who wants to do wall push-ups in heels and a pencil skirt?

Don’t worry, there are some realistic ones, like stretching your neck and walking to a coworker’s office to chat. I make sure to drink some water every time the alarm goes off because I need a reminder for that, too. But, whatever you decide to do, you should keep standing for the whole five minutes. Don't want to increase your chances of death!

The result? I haven’t had a headache all week, and I’m in a lot better mood when I get home. AND I’ve hit my water intake goal every day. It’s a win-win-win.

Do you have a desk job? What to do you do to keep alert?

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