Get Up From That DeskBy Trish Milburn
We writers get the advice to BICHOK (Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard) all the time, and it’s good advice if you want to be productive. But I’d also like to advise you to get up from that chair at regular intervals. Your health could depend on it.
Like others before me have said, I’m not a medical professional. I don’t even play one on TV. But getting out of the chair a few minutes each hour, to me, is common sense. Why?
1. Blood clots – Recent studies have shown that workers who sit at their desks for long periods of time without getting up are at a significantly higher risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs). If these clots dislodge, they can travel to the lungs and heart and cause a pulmonary embolism or heart attack. I don’t know about you all, but I don’t want a blood clot to be what does me in.
2. Obesity – The term “couch potato” has been around a long time, but I think as many or more of us are computer potatoes. Not only do we work at our desks, but we play there too. Combine work, e-mail, blogs, computer games, etc., and you’re looking at lots and lots of hours sitting in a chair. If we don’t get up and move, we might soon either need a bigger chair or a bed at the hospital.
3. Eyestrain – All that staring at a computer screen can lead to headaches and eyestrain. In fact, I have a headache right now, the root of which is likely staring at this computer screen.
4. Productivity – How many of you notice your productivity goes up if you get up from the computer for a few minutes every hour then come back to your work in progress? I know mine does. This is especially true if I’ve taken a half-hour break to walk on the treadmill. It gives my brain a break while doing something healthy for my body.
If you get so engrossed in your work that you often look up and two hours have passed without you getting up from your chair, invest in a kitchen timer or alarm clock for your office space. Set it for however long you want to work before a break – 30 minutes, 45 minutes, whatever, but I’d suggest an hour or less. Then set it again for the amount of time you want to be on your break – 10, 15, 30 minutes.
Another thing you might try is working standing up for a few minutes. Set your laptop or a hard copy of your manuscript on a taller surface like your kitchen counters, and work there to give your body a break from all that sitting.
Remember, getting published or continuing to sell books after you’re published doesn’t mean a lot if you’re not around to enjoy it. I’m certainly glad I’m still around to enjoy today – the release day for my first book.
Labels: Writers' Health