I wrote 18 months ago about the negative health effects of spending all day at your desk. Part of what prompted that post was a chilling story in the New York Times about the negative health effects of sitting. A Mayo Clinic study, the first of its kind, showed that sitting has numerous effects on the body, none of them good.
The news is only getting worse. Nilofer Merchant blogged recently in Harvard Business Review about how the evidence keeps piling up that we are greatly increasing our chances of dropping dead by sitting all day. But Merchant also offers a smart suggestion for making a change without quitting your job.
Not surprisingly, we are sitting more and more every year. And the negative effects are not just being measured in terms like obesity rates and the like. Sitting is now being described more and more frequently as lethal, and exercise, while it absolutely improves your health, does not compensate for the effects of all that sitting.
Walk with me, talk with me
What to do? Merchant notes the increasing popularity of standing desks. But she also has developed another simple and ingenious solution to the sitting problem: walking meetings. You walk while you talk.
Granted, you need someplace to walk while you meet. And weather can keep you inside. But why not walk up and down a quiet hallway? The parking ramp? Stairs? You can get a conference room and push the chairs back and walk slowly around the table while you meet. (I know this may sound silly, but it’s no sillier than sitting on an exercise ball, is it?) I see people at my office wearing their wireless headsets and walking around slowly while on conference calls.
To take notes (unless you can type one-handed on your tablet or are a much faster phone typist than I am) you may need to get a steno pad and a pen that actually writes well. But typing up hand-written notes (if you think it necessary) is a great way to clarify (and remember) the discussion you just had.
We have to do something to save ourselves from having saved ourselves from an awful life of manual labor. So get off your duff and get moving.
(image: working to death from Shutterstock)