Stand Up for Your Health: mini-mission


You stand up for your health in doctor’s offices. You stand up for your health with insurance companies. You stand up for your health when choosing healthy food and daily exercise.

Now it’s time to stand up for your health, all day long.

Todays mini-mission is just as much for me as it is for you and people that you know that spend the majority of the day sitting. Now that I spend most of my work time writing, I sit more than ever. After re-reading an article by Corbett Barr about his standing up experiment, I decided it was time to implement this healthy habit.

You don’t need a special stand-up desk to stand up while working. Usually a counter top will do just fine. Create a space so you can work with your arms bent at about 90 degrees at the elbows. I stack my computer on a book and backgammon board on my kitchen counter. If you work in an office, and your boss or collegues don’t want you support you standing up for your health, let them know that:

Scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks. 54%!

Before you know it, those co-workers who thought you were weird or annoying will be standing right next to you.

Start simple and stand for the first 5 or 10 minutes of every hour. Increase the amount of time you stand as you become more comfortable with it. While standing, you will naturally move around more than you do when you are sitting.

Standing may even increase your creativity and productivity. As Rob Rob Schwartz, chief creative officer of ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day LA suggests, “You get more done when you’re standing up,” Schwartz says. “When you’re sitting, you’re naturally recessive, you’re receiving, when you’re standing, you’re ready to do something.”

I now alternate standing and sitting about every hour. I also go for at least 1 walk during my work day to get outside, spend time with my dog and leave the computer. How much time do you spend sitting each day?

Reading Recommendations

For more experiments to simplify your life, read Mini-missions for Simplicity. It’s available on the Amazon Kindle store, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can also be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.


  1. says

    Good grief – I’m a nurse! The opportunity to sit for any length of time at all during my 12+ hour shifts is a blessing; standing, moving, stretching, pulling, walking, and walking faster are all part of the job. Good luck with static standing :).

  2. says

    I feel like I sit a lot, but I know realistically, I’m also up a lot chasing children.

    As for the research, be careful to use such studies. That information is strictly correlational, which basically does not mean much. For example, there was a study done decades ago where they noted an increase in murders along with an increase in ice cream sales. Ice cream buying increased murders? Nope, they were correlates, but had no causal relationship. The causal factor was an increase in the summer heat. This isn’t to say that standing isn’t good, but such a study has SO many confounding variables that it’s hard to take their data seriously.

  3. says

    Timely advice! I’ve been acutely aware I’m sitting way too much for long periods of time. Standing is something that is easy to incorporate into my day without losing any productivity.

  4. says

    hmmm….don’t think i want the varicose veins my mum has from forty odd years of standing up in front of a classroom. that said, getting up and moving around is a good thing.

  5. says

    Interesting, I will give it a try, but I have to be honest – as changing habits go, this isn’t an easy one to change for me personally! Still I always make sure I get up and walk as much as possible, maybe two or three times a day. I find that if I am not exercising I get an excess build up of energy in my body. Maybe standing will help use that energy in a focused way.

  6. says

    I’m really interested in trying a standing desk. I’ve read a lot about them, and it’s intriguing. I can see how you would get a lot more done. Once I’m sitting down I tend to stay there – waiting to put filing away or whatever until I am already standing up. But if you are pemanently standing, then it makes sense that you would just get on and do it then.

    I may try it with some books as you suggested. This is a great idea. I had thought that I would need to build a special desk for the purpose, but now I can try it out and see how it works for me. Thanks for the nudge!

  7. says

    I read some similar articles a few months ago, and started standing at my desk at work. People around me all think I’m ridiculous, but I have to tell you: it feels great! I feel a lot more focused at my desk, and quite confident that this is healthier than sitting all day long. I do take breaks every so often if my feet start to hurt, but generally after a few minutes, I’m able to jump back up and get to work. Try it, you’ll like it!

  8. Ryan says

    I started standing at work about a year ago because of lower back pain. The back pain went away, and I have felt more productive. I’ve also lost weight, but I think that’s more due to increased exercise, but I’m sure that the standing doesn’t hurt. I got a few silly comments at first, but a lot of people have been sincerely curious, and several have even joined me. Some readers suggested the research isn’t conclusive, fine, but I can tell you that for me and everyone I’ve talked to who has done it, it has been a good thing.

  9. says

    I had just started exercising again in June and noticed that all the sitting was making me feel stiffer especially when I had exercised the day before. I get interesting reactions from people that pass by as well. They think I’m weird but some are realizing the benefits. In fact, one of the ladies at work who saw my setup was inspired to do it as well.

    When I work at home, I missed my jerry-rigged standing desk at the office that I put one together for home as well. Here’s my setup:

    Standing desks are actually not a new idea. Offices and schools had standing desks in the 1800’s and Ernest Hemingway worked at a standing desk:

  10. says

    First of all I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Many thanks!

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