As an Introvert, I like stillness.
It’s energizing to me.
Now, if you’re an Extrovert, stillness is about the last thing you want but there’s something good about stillness for everyone. Stillness of the mind, the body. Focusing on your breathing, disconnecting from the digital life of continuous partial attention.
But with too much stillness, you’ll die. Nearly every aspect of the human body depends upon some degree of mechanical force and movement. Lungs, heart, muscles, tendons, bones, brains, internal organs. Go to bed and stay in bed without moving for long enough and you’ll die.
One of the hazards of the digital lifestyle is sitting too much. Standing is better…somewhat.
It’s hard to write standing up though. It’s better for your spine – sort of – more on that in minute – but for me, tough to do.
Thomas Wolfe – a great novelist – reportedly wrote standing up in his kitchen and used the top of his refrigerator for a writing surface.
Winston Churchill made the standing desk popular as did Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
The problem with prolonged sitting is that your spine, and entire body really, was designed to move a lot and sit or stand a little. But our society has transformed that into sit a lot and move a little.
For your spine, sitting generates internal pressures that can gradually exceed its capacity much like pumping air into a faulty tire. Eventually, something gives.
I write. I write for this blog, books, courses, lectures, and I do some “creative” writing, more like sketching really, on my iPad. And since I have a history of spine problems, I am acutely aware of what sitting too much means for me. So here’s what I do to mitigate the potential downside of sitting:
Why all of the different things? I like to give my body different options and the ability to react to the challenge but I also realize that too much in any one position could lead to overload and a less than happy spine.
If you have to sit a lot during the day, try varying your surfaces, angles, positions, and durations. And move. I think you’ll feel better.