Book Review: Don’t Just Sit There

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the writer.

Sitting is the new smoking, health experts say. We even wrote a whole blog post about it! However, I’ve always been a little skeptical about the general prescription, which is “stand more.” Sure, I buy into the idea that sitting is bad – both intuitively and via the countless studies done on the topic. But I used to bartend and stood every Friday night for 7 hours straight. So I balked at the idea of getting a standing desk. How painful!

I figured standing constantly wasn’t the best idea – but I had only my personal experience and no science to back up my theory. This is one of the reasons I adored Katy Bowman’s latest book,  Don’t Just Sit There: Transitioning to a Standing and Dynamic Workstation for Whole-Body Health. 

Bowman’s book clarifies the analogy that “sitting is the new smoking.” She explains there is a proper way to sit that doesn’t damage our health as much, just as there is a proper way to stand. But the major issue is actually the use of a single position for hours on end. In order to be as healthy as possible, we need to move throughout the day. And it’s not enough to sit all day and then go to the gym at night – as Bowman explains, it’s possible to be both active and sedentary. Don’t Just Sit There is your guide to moving throughout the day.

I loved Don’t Just Sit There. Although just over 100 pages, the book is packed with information. Bowman details the proper ways to sit and stand and addresses common issues, including photographs so you can follow along easily. (I recommend reading this at home for best results.) She also lives up to the subtitle of “whole-body health,” including small tips you can use to protect your eyes and your hands Bowman also has various stretches – both ones you can do while working and others you must take a break to do.

I especially appreciated Bowman’s efforts to make her work accessible to everybody. While she admits her book is geared towards people who work in traditional office settings, she explains how people who spend their days standing can benefit from her book. For the most part, Bowman’s solutions are affordable and simple (for example, if you can’t buy an office chair, you can add a rolled towel to your seat to improve your alignment.) I also liked that she was incredibly realistic. She was open about how uncomfortable these positions would feel at first, adamant that this book presents a “training program” so you become used to this new way of working. She describes the process as “transitioning” – and if your boss isn’t comfortable with you adapting your workstation, she explains how you can convince him/her. There’s even a product guide at the end of the book, as well as checklists and short descriptions of the stretches so you can continue to use this book as a guide.

My only issue with Don’t Just Sit There was Chapter 9: The Big Picture. In this chapter, Bowman essentially says the real problem is with currently accepted standards of what it means to be working. She argues that “restructure the workday entirely” and “restructure the role of ‘work’ itself in our lives.” It’s relevant but not a particularly radical idea. She’s right that if both parties were walking on a phone call, it would be OK to walk outside and take a call – and that many countries around the globe are much more progressive about promoting work-life balance, like the Swedes who are testing out a 6-hour workday. It was an interesting way to end her book, however, it seemed a little out of place. This is a massive issue that would have been better served by writing perhaps another book (or even just a blog post, where people could suggest ways to do this).

One might also argue that the information in Don’t Just Sit There is freely available on the Internet – and indeed, you could likely find various guides online on the proper ways to stand, exercises you can do at your desk, etc. But there are so many guides like these that it’s hard to know which one to pick. Plus, you’d have to cull the information from many different sources. Katy Bowman is a bestselling author of multiple books with a history of helping people move throughout the day, so it’s easy to trust her. And I love the fact that Don’t Just Sit There takes the best of a mountain of information and makes it easy to consume in one place.

Overall, Don’t Just Sit There was a phenomenal book that was packed far more densely with useful information than I was expecting. If you work at a desk, I highly recommend buying a copy.

Intrigued? Buy the book here!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the writer.

Sitting is the new smoking, health experts say. We even wrote a whole blog post about it! However, I’ve always been a little skeptical about the general prescription, which is “stand more.” Sure, I buy into the idea that sitting is bad – both intuitively and via the countless studies done on the topic. But I used to bartend and stood every Friday night for 7 hours straight. So I balked at the idea of getting a standing desk. How painful!

I figured standing constantly wasn’t the best idea – but I had only my personal experience and no science to back up my theory. This is one of the reasons I adored Katy Bowman’s latest book,  Don’t Just Sit There: Transitioning to a Standing and Dynamic Workstation for Whole-Body Health. 

Bowman’s book clarifies the analogy that “sitting is the new smoking.” She explains there is a proper way to sit that doesn’t damage our health as much, just as there is a proper way to stand. But the major issue is actually the use of a single position for hours on end. In order to be as healthy as possible, we need to move throughout the day. And it’s not enough to sit all day and then go to the gym at night – as Bowman explains, it’s possible to be both active and sedentary. Don’t Just Sit There is your guide to moving throughout the day.

I loved Don’t Just Sit There. Although just over 100 pages, the book is packed with information. Bowman details the proper ways to sit and stand and addresses common issues, including photographs so you can follow along easily. (I recommend reading this at home for best results.) She also lives up to the subtitle of “whole-body health,” including small tips you can use to protect your eyes and your hands Bowman also has various stretches – both ones you can do while working and others you must take a break to do.

I especially appreciated Bowman’s efforts to make her work accessible to everybody. While she admits her book is geared towards people who work in traditional office settings, she explains how people who spend their days standing can benefit from her book. For the most part, Bowman’s solutions are affordable and simple (for example, if you can’t buy an office chair, you can add a rolled towel to your seat to improve your alignment.) I also liked that she was incredibly realistic. She was open about how uncomfortable these positions would feel at first, adamant that this book presents a “training program” so you become used to this new way of working. She describes the process as “transitioning” – and if your boss isn’t comfortable with you adapting your workstation, she explains how you can convince him/her. There’s even a product guide at the end of the book, as well as checklists and short descriptions of the stretches so you can continue to use this book as a guide.

My only issue with Don’t Just Sit There was Chapter 9: The Big Picture. In this chapter, Bowman essentially says the real problem is with currently accepted standards of what it means to be working. She argues that “restructure the workday entirely” and “restructure the role of ‘work’ itself in our lives.” It’s relevant but not a particularly radical idea. She’s right that if both parties were walking on a phone call, it would be OK to walk outside and take a call – and that many countries around the globe are much more progressive about promoting work-life balance, like the Swedes who are testing out a 6-hour workday. It was an interesting way to end her book, however, it seemed a little out of place. This is a massive issue that would have been better served by writing perhaps another book (or even just a blog post, where people could suggest ways to do this).

One might also argue that the information in Don’t Just Sit There is freely available on the Internet – and indeed, you could likely find various guides online on the proper ways to stand, exercises you can do at your desk, etc. But there are so many guides like these that it’s hard to know which one to pick. Plus, you’d have to cull the information from many different sources. Katy Bowman is a bestselling author of multiple books with a history of helping people move throughout the day, so it’s easy to trust her. And I love the fact that Don’t Just Sit There takes the best of a mountain of information and makes it easy to consume in one place.

Overall, Don’t Just Sit There was a phenomenal book that was packed far more densely with useful information than I was expecting. If you work at a desk, I highly recommend buying a copy.

Intrigued? Buy the book here!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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