Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Work Posture

I didn't have to drop the kids at camp this morning which meant I could get to the office a bit earlier than usual. For that reason, I decided to just pack up the leftover ribs as today's lunch and stopped to get take-out for breakfast instead of eating breakfast at home. If you've been following along with me this week, you probably have a good guess as to where I might go for take-out. Yep, LaFarm Bakery for a repeat of Sunday's breakfast (minus the prosciutto this morning). The latte was gone before I got to the office. I enjoyed my breakfast with another cup of coffee while checking my morning e-mail at the office. No picture of breakfast this morning. It looks just like it did Sunday and tastes just as good.

Cheddar omelet with tomato and avocado
Small side of fruit (orange slices and honeydew melon)
Small whole milk latte
Second cup of coffee with organic half-and-half

Once I finished breakfast seated at my desk (I prefer to eat sitting down), I converted my desk to it's usual configuration: a standing workstation. A few years ago I suddenly realized how bad my posture had become and I set out on an on-going quest for improved posture with the hope that doing so would reduce my chances (or at least delay the onset) of osteoarthritis, a condition that effects many members of my extended family. That quest has led me to adopt two habits that I believe have been very beneficial to my health: regularly going barefoot and working as much as possible in a standing posture (with regular movement and stretching throughout the day).

It turns out that these are two practices that Mark Sisson also recommends. When I first started reading his blog earlier this year it resonated well with me because I was already following many of his lifestyle recommendations and I knew first-hand the benefits of those choices. It's the reason I was motivated to experiment with full Primal Blueprint. If I was already following most of Sisson's recommendations to great success, how might following his entire plan work for me? Turns out, it works quite well.

Anyway, several years ago when I was first motivated to try a standing workstation I was lucky enough to work in an office where pneumatic height adjustable desks were standard issue for each employee. With the push of a lever I could quickly adjust the height of the entire desk for either sitting or standing. (Oh, how I miss that desk!) I've changed employers twice since then and neither has provided adjustable desks. For good reason, they're not exactly a dime a dozen. But no worry.

If, like me, you're not lucky enough to have an adjustable desk, don't fret. As you can see in my picture, it's not that difficult or expensive to make your own modifications, especially these days with the ultra-light flat panel computer monitors. I use an upside-down, inexpensive plastic storage box to lift my primary monitor to standing height. I leave my secondary monitor on the desk and just tilt it up toward me. It's sufficient for my needs. I could always get a second box for the other monitor if I needed it at standing height. My keyboard and mouse live on a lap desk that I use for both sitting and standing posture. When standing, the lap desk rests on a short stack of empty boxes that lifts the keyboard to the perfect height for me so my shoulders stay back and relaxed.

It takes just a few seconds to switch between a standing and sitting work station. When sitting, I use the lap desk, as the name suggests, in my lap. To facilitate this, I removed the arms from my chair. Using the lap desk allows me to keep my shoulders back and down as I type on the keyboard in my lap instead of rounding my shoulders to reach out in front of me as I would be doing if the keyboard and mouse were on my desk. The lap desk measures 22" across which is comfortably wide, but still not ideal with a standard keyboard. The solution for me was the Microsoft Arc keyboard which provides full-size keys and all the functions of a standard keyboard but a reduced overall width due to the lack of a number pad. I find it a perfect solution.

I worked straight through the morning into the early afternoon and finally stopped for lunch around 1pm. I had some dark chocolate as a snack shortly thereafter.

Leftover pork ribs (sadly, there were only 2 ribs left)
Big salad: mixed baby lettuce, purslane, sungold tomatoes, avocado, green onion, blue cheese, dressed with champagne vinaigrette

Dark chocolate

It was just too hot for a long mid-afternoon walk break today. Actual temps were at 100°F with the heat index upwards of 107°F. I took a 2 minute stroll around the outside of the building and decided that was enough.

When I got home from work, my darling husband had already cooked up a mess o' greens for dinner. I love that man! I roasted some okra and whipped up a shrimp scampi to go with it and served it all with some fresh sliced tomatoes. Delish!

Shrimp scampi
Collards and Beet Greens with Smoked Turkey
Roasted Okra
Tomato Slices with Balsamic and grated Parmesan

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