Sit or Stand? Or Both?

I’m sure you’ve read the reports indicating how bad it is for you to sit at a desk all day.  Writer’s are guilty of this, for sure. I have a desk job at the inn where I work, plus I write, sometimes for hours a day. How about you? How much sit-down time are you clocking in a day? Include in this count time spent in vehicles, watching television, and eating meals, and you can see how all that time sitting is adding up each day. It’s too much for many people.

This much sit-down time is not really good for you

Being this sedentary on a near daily basis causes health problems. I’ve read that all this sitting can cause a variety of problems including weight gain, and muscle problems in the legs. Heart disease is another problem that someone who sits a lot might encounter. And do not forget that too much sitting can cause posture problems, take years off your life, and cause other health problems. It can be scary thinking about these things, but we need to.

Standing too much is not good for you

If you can’t sit all day then standing at the desk would be a better option, right?

Not necessarily. Standing too much can also cause problems from what I’ve been reading, the least of which being sore feet! You may also notice varicose veins on your legs, and all the standing will exhaust your body. I’ve also read it can compress the spine and cause cardiovascular problems when people stand all the time at at desk. These are pretty scary things as well.

My experiences sitting and standing at a desk

I work 40 hours a week at a desk job at an inn. I am up and down quite a bit some days, not so much on other days, depending on how busy we are. I also write. A lot. Which means I can sit for hours more a day. I say can, but I don’t really mean that.

You see, years ago I hurt my back and shoulder doing a much more active job as a housekeeper. I still have back and shoulder problems to this day, and will for the rest of my life.

I cannot sit or stand for long periods of time, so I have switch it up often. I also have to move my body, because just sitting and standing at intervals hurts a great deal. So I’m always up and down, and doing mini workouts throughout the day.

Move your body

Even if you don’t have back and shoulder problems, it’s best to move your body throughout the day. In my reading, I’ve come across indications that sitting is the way to go, with at least ten minutes of standing per hour. (I switch it up more often than this, and add movement.) What can you do each hour to move your body? Here are the things I do:

  • Stand at least three times an hour for about five minutes. When at work, I actually stand more than this for part of my shift.
  • Do a chore here and there. I live in a room, so I don’t have too many chores. I have at least a few things I can do each day though, and will split them up to do during my breaks from writing. When at work, I will water the plant and straighten the stuff on stands at some point. I’ll also do other things such as take out the trash, dust, check the halls and the parking lot, and even make coffees and restock the coffee cart.
  • When we are not busy at work I’ll find extra ways to help guests, that get me up from the desk.
  • At home and at work, I get up from the desk and sit elsewhere, in a different position, to eat my lunch or dinner.
  • At work, I get up and stretch every hour or so. Little exercises that take just a moment or two here and there.
  • At home I start my day with a little yoga. On my days off from the inn I walk. And I have mini workouts that I do throughout the day.
  • Three days a week I walk to the bus stop to catch the bus into Bangor where I work. This is a shorter walk than the ones I take on my days off.

I’m trying to live a healthy lifestyle and lose weight, so sitting or standing all the time will not work for me. Sadly, even with all the movement by back – and often my shoulder – can hurt pretty bad by the end of the day. I also try to have good posture while sitting, but that hurts me as well if I do it too long. (Though I do suggest good posture for the most part, I can imagine that even people without back problems may have trouble with it.)

Remember: Exercise is so important!

How do you move at work? Do you sit a lot? Stand more than you should? How do you combat health issues if you do sit or stand a lot?

Shannon L. Buck


About Shannon L. Buck

Hello. My name is Shannon, and I'm a single mother of two young adult daughters, and Memay to one precious Little Man. I work as a writer from my home in Orono, Maine, and as a Front Desk Agent at an inn. Writing is my life, second only to my daughters. I enjoy writing nonfiction, as well as fiction in a number of genres. At some point, I would like to travel. It would be a true writing adventure.

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