If someone would have told me thirty years ago, that sitting is the new smoking, things might have turned out way different for me.
Growing up my parents always made sure we had a proper homework space but I don’t think they knew anything about ergonomics. My first desk had a backless chair, so I forced me to sit up straight and work on my posture. When I got my first lap top I think I was in high school, and I also got a new desk with a different chair. I went from using the family desktop computer in the den to my own laptop computer but never took a course in ergonomics. Nor did my parents. I still have that desk from high school today, and now, thirty years later, I have some damage on my nerves cause I guess the desk was too high and caused stress to my arms because I’ve been typing wrong all these years.
When I graduated college I got a new chair for my graduation present, which I also still have to this day. Everything was fine until a few months ago when I had pain at work. So I had my desk at work checked out by an ergonomics expert that revealed I had my chair adjusted wrong, the wrong size mouse, a poor functioning keyboard, basically the entire thing had to be replaced cause turns out, I had it all wrong. So I was able to fix my desk at work but now at home I had my desk from high school, and that chair from college graduation to deal with. Basically I had to face that in three decades I’ve been causing harm to my upper body, and not that it’s fatal but it’s going to be a lifetime thing I’m going to have to deal with in order to minimize further potential damage.
So I did some research on those standing desks, and ordered one from Home Depot, and today is the first time I am using it to write this article and I am PISSED! Am I going to have to stand like this for the rest of my life every time I write?
Ah, I think so. But what irks me the most is I never paid attention to ergonomics and it’s a real thing. In fact, I would make fun of people that had their work stations all ergonomically sound till one day my hand started to hurt cause turns out, my hand was too big for my tiny little mouse. My fat Irish sausage fingers needed a bigger mouse but it took months before any harmful results started manifesting themselves, and it’s almost like now it’s too late. I know, I know, better late then never but, now my doctor wants me to get tested for nerve damage and I have this anti-inflammatory gel I’m supposed to put on my hands three times a day. I have pain killers if it gets bad but, the last thing I need is to rely on a prescriptive drug the rest of may life so I’ll stick to just the gel for now. At least the table has wheels and it’s kinda cool but it’s mind boggling to think I spent decades harming myself due to ignorance and stupidity. So now I have my beautiful high school desk with my cool chair sitting next to this giant standing desk and am going to have to challenge myself on a daily basis to try and stay standing when I type. It’s WILD.
I say all this as a cautionary tale. If you think ergonomics is a joke, think again. You don’t want to wake up one day and have pain in random areas of your body when you type or use a computer cause you’re not sitting right, or cause you’re using the wrong keyboard or have a bad chair. Educate yourself on what’s out there now, and please do so for your kids. I appreciate my parents for the backless chair that gave me good posture but not so sure that was the best thing for my back. Parents need to be aware of what products are out there cause I think the future might have more standing desks rolling around.
I’ll be 42-years-old on Tuesday. It’s a whole new year, but quite frankly, a whole new life, and an exciting future of standing when I work. Like work wasn’t work enough, now I have to stand while doing it. It’s fine. If sitting is the new smoking, I can can take a stand no problem!