Jan 022013

Health researchers have long been studying the effects of sitting at work. The reports I’ve seen are negative: sitting all day at work is detrimental to your health. Circulation is cut off to portions of your body, your organs are squeezed and your joints/muscles are forced to remain in static positions all day. Even more disturbing is the finding that exercise cannot offset the negative effects of sitting. If you’re sitting all day, you are harming your health.

Standing desks are nothing new, so I’ve been thinking about it for a number of years. After seeing a post describing very cost-effective standing desks, I decided it was time to try. It depends upon your height, but most people need nothing more than a coffee table and a shelf from Ikea (about $20 total). In my case, I’m tall enough that I don’t even need the shelf. The only item I purchased was a 35″ x 21″ LACK coffee table (p/n 101.042.95). You will probably also want an anti-fatigue floor mat to protect your feet, knees and back.

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Feb 212011

Studies have shown that long periods of staring at TVs and computer screens damages your eyesight. You have to be mindful of your working conditions and take an appropriate number of breaks to give your eyes – and your body – a break. One of the easiest exercises I use is to alternate focus between near objects (a foot or two away) and far objects (the next room over or outdoors, if possible).

I’ve recently learned that there’s more at stake – your sleep. Your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) is primarily regulated by your environment. Stand outside in the sun and your body knows it’s day. Sit inside a dark room and your body believes it’s night. The quantity and type of light entering your eyes determines your body’s response.

Unfortunately, the light emitted by all your electronic devices (TV, computer, cell phone, laptop) is the wrong “temperature”. They tell your body that it is still day, even if it’s long past your bed time.

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May 172004

The arrangement of keys on a keyboard traditionally follows the QWERTY layout (named for the first 5 keys on the left hand: q, w, e, r, t, y). The QWERTY layout was designed before computers existed, and was used as the layout on Remington typewriters. However, the layout has survived for more than a century with very few, if any, improvements. It is the layout that almost everyone uses, but is it really the best choice?

Another keyboard layout, DVORAK (named after the inventor), was patented in 1932, but has never been widely adopted. Many typists who have tried this layout have been adamant that DVORAK is more efficient than QWERTY, but others have claimed that DVORAK is not really much of an improvement. Additionally, switching to a new layout would be quite an inconvenience for most typists. Is a DVORAK layout more efficient, and is it worth making the transition from QWERTY?

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