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One Small Change I Made to Improve My Health

Between blogging and school work, I end up spending a LOT of time on my computer when I’m at home. That used to translate to a lot of time sitting down being completely inactive, but shortly after we moved in to our apartment in Chapel Hill last fall I discovered something awesome — the ledge (I think it’s called a breakfast bar) between our kitchen and dining room is the perfect height for standing up while working on my laptop!

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Since the fall, anytime I’m writing blog posts, checking in on Twitter or Facebook, or working on a school assignment, I’ve done it standing up. Matt calls it my “perch” — if I’m home, I’m usually here. :)

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I think I originally got the idea from UNC — in the computer lab in my public health building on campus, one whole row of the computer stations are built so the person using them is standing up. It’s so awesome, especially after sitting in class all day! When I was working full time, the hardest thing for me was sitting still all day. Even though I always took a nice long lunch time walking break, I still felt really restless and stiff after a long day in an office chair. I’m so passionate about the fact that humans were NOT made to sit still for 8, 9, 10, 12 hours per day. It’s crazy and so bad for us!

I’m a big believer in the fact that every small change you make towards better health will make a difference. You don’t have to overhaul your life — just start simple! Whether it’s creating a makeshift standing desk for yourself, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking farther away in the parking lot, it all adds up.

What small change have you made lately to improve your health? Please share — it will be a great way for all of us to get some new healthy tips and ideas! :)

Comments

  1. 1

    great idea! When I was a kid we had stools at our kitchen island and I was always such an active kid that my mom just took away my stool! I could move my feet as much as I wanted during dinner. She thought it was punishment for not sitting still…I thought it was great!

  2. 2
    Jen Robinson says:

    I no longer try to find the parking spot closest to the doors and I almost always take the stairs vs. the escalator/elevator (unless i’m carrying something heavy like a suitcase!). In the eating category of small changes- I now put spinach at the bottom of my bowl whenever i eat pasta so i don’t over-fill my bowl (since i’m guilty of the clean plate/bowl club ALWAYS) and it also gives me more iron in my diet! I’ve also switched to almond milk but that’s more just because i like the taste- not sure it’s any “improvement” to my health!

  3. 3
    Jen Robinson says:

    ps if I give you an Under Armour sticker will you stick it on your laptop so ours can match? :P

  4. 5

    I watched an entire webinar on that topic and thought I should quit my desk job immediately.

  5. 6

    Sitting all day kills me! I could never have a job that required that everyday, 8-5. I’m so thankful my job allows me to get out and travel or work from home occasionally where I have my own perch in my kitchen too. :)

  6. 7

    I do the same thing. I always stand up when on the computer. I never even really noticed it but I do. I guess so I can quickly run to nab the kiddos when they wake from their naps.

    PS – Can’t wait to finally meet in less than a week. :)

  7. 9

    Urgh, I’ve been sitting at a desk all week and feel terrible. My cat died on Monday so I haven’t really felt very talkative at work, which resulted in me taking the work laptop into a different room (next to our office) and working by myself on some cataloguing. This had a knock-on effect with my exercise — whilst I felt fine going to BodyPump, I just couldn’t bring myself to go for a run.

    So my small change, starting tomorrow (got to work tomorrow afternoon), is going to be to stretch every hour at work. I’ll do this in the staff room rather than the office or library obviously! Also, to go for at least a ten minute walk during my lunch hour so it’ll put me in the mood for running after work. Fingers crossed!

    • 10

      I’m so sorry to hear about your cat :( It sounds like you have a great game plan for getting back on track, though – stretching is SO important especially if you do sit a lot, and you’re right, walking will help keep your energy up for running later. Good luck! You can do it :)

  8. 11

    I just read that article yesterday, and it really freaked me out! I am trying to implement an office-wide lunchtime walking initiative in here because I totally agree — it’s all about the little changes. I’ve started yoga-stretching while watching mah shows, because at the very it makes me feel a lot less awful about parking it to watch an hour of TV after sitting down all day at work. Plus, how fun is it to watch TV while in happy laughing baby pose? :P

  9. 13

    Those berries look delicious. When you mentioned standing to work on your computer brought to mind a special on TV somewhere around 2005 they did a special on then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in which they noted that he stood all day long while in the office. You know, I work better standing too, keeps your butt from spreading. Hahaha.
    Tomorrow, my high school is having our 43rd class reunion (did I say 43rd OMG). They are having it at one of Georgia’s many,many,many state parks. No alcohol rule, boo, and my husband is concerned about being without a beer for a couple of hours. Teehee. I hope “we” make it.

    • 14

      That’s so cool about Rumsfeld! Good for him.

      Good luck at the reunion! I can’t believe they’d have no alcohol at a reunion, haha. But I guess being at a state park that’s a no go. Here’s hoping you guys make it through ;)

      • 15

        Regarding the alcohol, we are not sots, buttttttt. This is a reunion for crying out loud. I don’t know who set this up but our last one 5 years ago was at the Marriott Hotel near the airport and we had a blast. Maybe they think at our age we shouldn’t drink. Hey, if they could walk in my shoes just one day they probably would drink everyday.Hahaha

  10. 16

    I created a stand up work station at work that I try to use at least for a few hours a day. The only problem is that the laptop screen isn’t at eye level so I have to look down to see it, which isn’t ergonomically sound. BUT, it’s better than nothing!

    Sadly I don’t have a ledge or place to stand at home. It’s awful because I sit for the majority of the day at work and then sit in front of the computer at night to blog. I haven’t found a great solution yet and I think I’m getting permanent flat butt. haha. Not so healthy living of me.

  11. 18

    PS – See you next week!! Woo-hoo.

  12. 20

    Standing up and working sounds like a great idea, especially after a long day of sitting. One small healthy change I made recently was sipping on warm water after I eat dinner. It really calms my stomach and helps with digestion. Have a great weekend!

  13. 21

    Sometimes I’ll get up from my desk to walk down 6 flights of stairs and right back up!

  14. 22

    I’ve made so many changes in my life during the past couple of years that it’s hard to remember them all. The first was to add a fruit and a vegetable serving to each meal. The latest has been to use Greek yogurt in the place of mayo in all recipes. So far, so good.

  15. 23

    what a cute lil top! i love to type standing up at a tall bar! i’m less comfortable so i work faster!

  16. 24
    Thomas Pore says:

    Have you ever thought about putting together a treadmill computer desk? I’ve seen a few in my travels. You set it at a very low speed and you’re off. Think about it…

    • 25

      I’ve heard of/though about doing that but never seen it in person. I also like the idea of attaching a stationary bike to a computer desk!

  17. 26

    OMG where is your top from? It is SO CUTE!!!

  18. 28

    What a great idea! Wonderful –

  19. 29

    It is funny how 1% tastes so much better then skim. The first time I had a 2% fage yogurt was like a taste of heaven haha.

    My small change has been watching my salt intake. Not like it was ever a crazy amount, but after spending almost a week with out using the salt shaker and staying away from processed foods, I feel like a new person!

  20. 30

    It’s my first time to your blog and i’ve thoroughly enjoyed it! I love that you’re in NC now, I’m from SC (now California) and had a bunch of friends that went to UNC!

  21. 32

    You are so creative!

    I’ve seen some people hook up their laptops to a treadmill and walk during work. I would love to set something like this up one of these days (I guess I need a treadmill first! ;) ). But I do plan on taking your idea to stand up while working, more often!

  22. 34

    I am teaching this year in France, which requires me to be active in the classroom! The thought of getting a 9-5 job frightens me purely for the fact of sitting all day long :( I’ve heard that some offices have higher desks where you can stand?

    • 35

      I’ve never seen an office that had that as an option, but maybe that’s something you could ask them to start implementing wherever you start!

  23. 36

    Your “perch” is such a great idea! I alway get antsy when I am sitting for too long and it’s not like I can just get off the computer because I have schoolwork/blogging to do! I am definitely going to look into building my own perch!

  24. 37

    Thanks for showing us your “perch” Now as I read your blog and tweets I will know where you are…..a great visualization. XO

  25. 38

    I am at work for nine hours today, and I read this post this morning.. I have the ability to sit or stand, and I always make an effort to stand a lot, but this post inspired me to stand almost the entire day. I swear I have been more hungry today than normal, and I am attributing it to standing! Perfect post-timing for me. :) Thanks!

  26. 39

    Interesting post! I just read the “Sitting is Killing You” page–wow. Makes me want to go for a long, long walk!

    Just out of curiousity: I find that when I stand for a long period of time, I get really tired and sore and want to sit down! Is standing for a long time bad for the body, as well, at least standing in place?

  27. 41

    When I was working full time at a desk job I used to be on the 13th floor, and every hour or so I would get up and go down and back up the stairs. That was helpful! I LOVE the idea of the laptop perch since I am at home on my computer alot now – we have a little island/breakfast bar thing too and I am going to try putting my laptop there – thanks so much for the suggestion!

    One thing I like to do is fill half a bowl with fruit before adding the cereal and milk. I LOVE cereal, a nice big bowl, so this helps keep it more reasonable. Even though I go for lower sugar or oats most of the time a huge bowl of cereal is still pretty unnecessary.

    Don’t you like 1% milk? I used to do skim and my husband liked whole, now we do 1 or 2%. Its really not that many more calories and a little fat is good for you anyway! Bonus, it tastes much better and works so well in coffee I rarely use half and half. I started doing full fat cottage cheese too because it just seems off to me to eat a lot of foods that are altered from their natural state to have a lot less fat than they otherwise would.

  28. 42

    I really have no where in my house to set this thing up, but I LOVE the idea. I’ve been thinking about getting one of those workout balls and replacing my chair at work with that. I work for 9 1/2 hrs straight sitting in front of a computer, and it sucks!! I get up to walk once an hour b/c I can’t deal with just sitting.

    See you soon, roomie!!

  29. 44

    I’ve been trying to figure out ways to make it so I can stand while I work. I work from home but I use a full-size desktop PC with 2 monitors, so I need to figure out an affordable option to allow myself to stand while working on those. But it’s definitely something that’s been on my mind lately. I can’t stand sitting all day!

  30. 45

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your blog before, but this is a fANNEtastic idea!! Something I’ve been doing recently to improve balance is standing on one for for the first minute I brush my teeth, and then standing on the other foot for the second minute.

  31. 47

    I have the same problem. When I’m at home I sit blogging, emailing, and anything else that I do on the computer. I feel like I could be on it for 24 hours a day. I then feel guilty for sitting all day. Maybe I need to make the computer a stand up task. If I’m on the computer I need to be standing.

  32. 48

    I have been debating on trying a standing desk at work but since I’m already the weird guy at work who always wears Vibram Five Fingers I don’t know how much I want to push my luck.

  33. 50

    I discovered your blog after enjoying some of your recipes on SparkPeople; your recipes are wonderful! Thank you!
    In regards to sitting for too long, the other side of the coin is that you can also suffer from a job where you stand all day. My daughter is a pharmacist and has to wear support stockings to try and avoid varicose veins, so ideally I think that if one can find a balance of sitting and standing and moving around to avoid any one extreme. I have also used a workout ball as a chair and it is great for building balance and core strength.

    • 51

      Absolutely – great point! Too much of anything is a bad thing. I remember my feet used to KILL me when I worked in retail. Good idea to use a workout ball as a chair!

  34. 52

    at work when I have to chart, I will stand most of the time. Except if its a crazy day and I havent been sitting or had a chance to eat. Then I might take a few minutes to sit haha

  35. 53

    Love the perch! We talked a lot about NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) in my exercise metabolism class last semester–so awesome to realize that little movements throughout the day really add up!

  36. 54

    I completely agree….every positive choice, small or large, will benefit our health. I recently started blogging about just that ;) I’m kind of a newbie at this, but I like to read your blog for inspiration…thanks for everything!

  37. 56

    Yessss!! Standing desks ftw! I totally love that you perch now :)

  38. 57

    I really enjoyed this post. I quit my desk job six months ago and moved to Kathmandu. I am a consultant, so I still spend plenty of time in front of the computer, but it is never for a solid, uninterrupted stretch of 8-10 hours per day. I don’t belong to a gym here (good ones are more or less non-existent), but I have a very active lifestyle — lots of walking, lots of errands, lots of stairs, and lots of yoga in my home studio. I have seen a dramatic change in my health and my happiness. I know that not everyone can leave desk jobs, and it is very likely that one day I will return to one, but if and when that happens I want to make sure that I stay active throughout the day, for both physical health and mental sanity!

  39. 59

    I know this is an old post, but wow to that “sitting is killing you” article!

  40. 60

    We read your original post about sitting at work, and using paper boxes have set up our perches! Now there are 4 of us using our perches! trying to convert the whole building!

  41. 62

    Oh my gosh thank you Anne! I am also a graduate student and I HATE sitting for hours on end and have been going to a chiropractor to help my poor back. I never even thought to stand at my breakfast bar, this is genius! You may have just saved me from a lot more trips to the chiropractor :)

  42. 64

    I find siting on the computer for long periods of time kills my back and shoulders. I like to sit on a exercise ball that has helped me greatly. Also standing helps to.

  43. 65

    Just found your log through Runners World! Love it – great tips!!!!!!

  44. 66

    Love your recipe, thanks. I’ve been looking on Amazon recently at home desks that move up and down to allow you to sit or stand while on your computer. Mentioned this idea to my boss who is sadly not keen :( Imagine how something like this could change the lives of millions of us office workers? My one change that has made a huge change to my health, tastebuds AND weight is just two words – Green Smoothies :)

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  1. [...] subscribe to my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe by email!Good morning from my perch! Don’t pretend you don’t love the pun in my post title today, [...]

  2. [...] follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe by email!A couple months ago, I wrote about the One Small Change I Made to Improve My Health — creating a standing up desk at home, or my “perch”, as Matt calls [...]

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