Monday, February 02, 2015

My Trainer, My Desk

Everybody get on your feet,
You make me nervous
When you're in your seat
-----Jerry Jeff Walker

     What on earth would our Ice Age ancestors think?  Genetically identical to our 21st century selves, they were perfectly suited to a life of obligatory physical exercise, periodic famine, and unrelenting cold.  We, on the other hand, no longer running from predators or chasing our dinner, pass our days on the job and at leisure slouched in our chairs, inert, well-fed, and warm.
     My Fitbit, a pedometer-plus, tallies steps, stairs, and calories. Gizmos within know when I am active and know when I am not.  After a day at home or at work, add housework or laundry plus a walk and a trip to the store, I might manage to reach the 10,000 step goal. Syncing with Fitbit on-line turns daily data into a pie chart of motion, gray for sedentary with blue, yellow, and pink for light, moderate and heavy action.  Alas, my so-called busy day is awash in inert--big yawning gray, a thin slice of sky, a sliver of sun, and one slash of pink.
     Perhaps it's time for on beyond Fitbit. A smart--and very pricey!--desk might be the next best thing to a personal trainer.  For several thousand dollars, you can buy a work station at that greets you by name, gently nags you to move, keeps a log of your day, week, and month, and advises you how long until you're next scheduled to fidget.  When you've been too still for too long, the thing takes a 'whisperbreath', heaving beneath your laptop like an impatient dog past due for a walk.
     Sit-stand workstations are today’s medical news; studies prove they decrease on-the-job sedentary behavior (SB), may or may not affect productivity, and mostly don’t cause workplace injuries.  Ingenius, creepy, or just a sign of our times?