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 day's 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 this: 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 often realize that there some deeper emotional issues 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. And 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:
- Talk on the phone. Remember how may find you feel and sound more confident when speaking to clients?
- Read. Tilt your screen up so you can read. Or stand at a counter that puts your book closer to you.
- 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.
- Listen. How many educational 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:
- 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.
- Calf raises. Go up on your toes and come back down. This will not only give you shapely calves, it will also work out your whole legs and your butt and core as you work on your balance.
- 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.
- 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!
Author of "Writing Irresistible Copy For Nutritional Supplements", Sarah Clachar specializes in natural health copywriting, both B2B and B2C. When she's not churning out copy, she can usually be found working on her small farm or charging down mountain bike trails around northern New England with her husband and two children. For more information about her copywriting services, please visit www.healthymarketingideas.com.
Want to learn more about gaining additional energy and boosting your productivity? Grab Sarah's free guide, "The Easy Way To Sneak Fitness Into Your Workday and Get More Done" by visiting www.yourhealthyhomebiz.com.