Is Your Desk Chair Killing You And Your Business?

by Sarah on September 15, 2011

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It’s just a chair. Something you probably don’t think too much about as you plop down, lean towards your computer and get going with the days’ tasks.

But as innocent as it looks, your desk chair may be threatening your life . . . and directly impacting the success of your business.

Keep reading, because I’m going to tell you how you can defend yourself against this lethal piece of furniture and take your business to a whole other level . . .

The Dangerous Truth About Sitting

See, we’re not made to sit all day.

Our ancestors didn’t spend much time in desk chairs. Sure, they weren’t running marathons. But much of their days were spent in low-key movement.

Our sedentary lifestyle has had an enormous impact on our health.  In fact a recent study conducted by the American Cancer Society showed that it doesn’t matter whether you exercise or not, if you sit 6 or more hours a day you’re likely to die at a younger age than someone who sits only 3 hours a day.

Women are particularly at risk.  Women who sit for at least 6 hours were 37% more likely to die during the 13 years the study was done than women who sat for no more than 3 hours each day.  Men who sat 6 hours or more were 18% more likely to die than their less sedentary counterparts.

Again, this had nothing to do with whether you went to the gym or not. And this wasn’t about specific disease risks – like cancer or heart disease.  It’s simply: The more you sit each day, the more you put your life at risk.

Now, we can’t spend all day walking, digging for tubers and collecting firewood like our great great (great great . . . etc.) grandmothers.  We’ve got businesses to run!

But we can move more.

And getting even more basic, we can simply stand up more . . .

By standing up you literally revive your body. The blood flows better, muscles are working in subtle ways you don’t even notice.

Your body becomes active – even though you’re just standing still.

Save Your Back By Standing Up

Now standing up is not just a matter of burning some extra calories and building a little muscle. It prevents the productivity-busting problem of a bad back, neck and shoulder pain.

My other home business is our farm. So I’ve spent plenty of hours pushing wheelbarrows full of manure, hauling feedbags and carting 5-gallon buckets of maple sap through the woods.

But the days that my back has been the achiest are the ones when I spend all day hunched over my computer.

Standing up helps keep your back strong.  In fact my first introduction to the idea of standing up as much as possible while working came from Steve Heffron at the Healthy Back Institute.

Steve explained to me how often back pain comes from using muscles too much in one way – like sitting.

Standing 1.) allows your muscles to work in other ways; 2.) strengthens muscles that get weak from lack of use; and 3.) changes the position of your spine.

Now who can argue with a simple move that not only saves your back but your life . . .

And certainly the act of staying alive – let alone putting back pain behind you – will do a world of good for your business.

But there are a few additional ways standing up can give your business a boost . . .

Stand Up To Wake Up

I’ve had plenty of days coming off of a short night’s sleep as I scramble to meet a deadline.  It’s hard to sit and read through my work, editing attentively.

By standing up I get my body more active and my brain gets active too.

So if you’re feeling your eyelids drooping, instead of getting another cup of coffee, get some standing up energy.

And even if you’re not sleepy, the more you stand up, the more alert and energized you’ll feel throughout the day.

Stand Up To Get Noticed

Certainly it’s great for keeping you on your toes, but standing up can work some subtle changes in you that can help with client calls and tough projects . . .

Fellow copywriter Pam Magnuson notes that when she stands up for a client call, she feels more confident.

Try it – it works!

Stand Up To Break Through

Of course this is a great bonus for dealing with clients. But it has a similar impact when facing off with a tough project.

When I’ve found myself struggling to get going on a big project, I realize often enough some deeper emotional issues are stewing inside of me. My perfectionist spawned doubts about doing the project well often cook up a good dose of writer’s block.

When this kind of perfectionist procrastination syndrome hits me, I don’t take it lying down.

I stand up and tell myself just get going. You can do this.

Just by putting myself in this more active position with a pep talk is enough to get me over that initial hump.

4 Ways To Stand Up

One way to get more standing time is to get rid of your desk chair altogether. I now work at a standup desk. That’s right, my desk is really more of a counter. I have a regular desk nearby where I take breaks occasionally when I want to have a seat.

But even if you’re not ready to make this switch, you can make standing up a regular part of your workday. Before my desk, I used these tactics regularly.

Here are four big things you can do standing up:

1.    Talk on the phone.  Remember how may find you feel and sound more confident when speaking to clients?
2.    Read.  Tilt your screen up so you can read.  Or stand at a counter that puts your book closer to you.
3.    Watch videos.  Again, just tilt the screen up and watch.  Make it an automatic reaction when a video starts to run. Like when the national anthem starts to play, you stand.
4.    Listen.  How many coaching, teaching MP3′s do you download? Got a teleseminar or webinar? Stand up and listen to them.

Think about how much time you spend doing these four activities.

Now stand up and get something more out of doing them.

And you can add something to this. Here are a few things to you can add on:

1.    Squats.  Just stand with your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees slowly. And then come back up. Make sure you don’t go so low that your knees go beyond the tips of your toes or you risk straining the joints more.  Try them with your feet turned out and straight forward to work out different muscles.
2.    Calf raises. Go up on your toes and come back down.  This will not only give you shapely calves but actually work out your whole legs and your butt and core as you work on your balance.
3.    Hula.  Sometimes I just swing my hips or do the hula and move them in a circle.  You can also just pull in your stomach or butt and release.
4.    Add weight on.  To add even more, put on a weight vest so your squats do your thighs even more good.

No excuses now. We learned how to stand up when we hit toddlerhood – no special skills needed. You don’t have to be a super athlete.

All you have to do is shift your perspective and your routine a bit.

Take it in small doses at first. It may not be entirely comfortable at first – or ever. But that’s kind of the point.

But believe me it will literally take you to new heights . . . and your business along with you!

Like this idea? Want to take it a further and gain in energy and productivity? Get my free guide, “The Easy Way To Sneak Fitness Into Your Workday and Get More Done”.  Just sign up and you can download it immediately.

Want to republish this article? Please do. The only requirement I have is that you include this attribution:  Your Healthy Home Biz provides tips, strategies and inspiration for home business owners who don’t want to undermine their health while building their business. For more information and to get a copy of the free report, “The Easy Way To Sneak Exercise Into Your Workday And Get More Done” just go to

PinExt Is Your Desk Chair Killing You And Your Business?
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