Before I turned 30 years old, I never had to worry about my back - it served me well, no matter how many hours I spent sitting at my desk, reading, writing, or watching Youtube videos. After sitting for more than 16 hours a day for about a month or two in 2017 however, my back started aching. At first it was a light ache - you know, the harmless kind that went away when you got up in the morning. Then it became more severe, and a good night's sleep could no longer cure it. Then it got to the point when the ache was very bad, 24/7 and hours of lying down during the day and night didn't alleviate, not not mention resolve it.
I was really frustrated - I always sat for extended periods and never had any back issues to deal with. Having this really painful ache at the back all the time was physically and mentally disturbing. I googled "back pain" and was not really assured by some of the more sinister causes of back pain that came up. (Hint: cancer was one of them) I wanted to see a doctor; however, I was planning to go to Seattle and Vancouver so I decided to see one when I got back from the trip.
In Seattle I went to Discovery Park and in Vancouver the Botanical Gardens. I walked around a lot. I certainly did not have any chance to sit down for 16 hours at a stretch. By the end of my two week trip, my backache had disappeared. It's like magic!
I was relieved to say the least. Now I knew the cause for my backache - excessive sitting! It's not like I didn't exercise. I did my three-times-a-week walking but apparently it was not enough to overcome the 16 hours of sitting. I have to say that I learnt my lesson and made sure I did not sit for extended periods in front of my computer anymore. And the backache did not come back again.
I'm really glad for the wake up call that the backache gave me. Around the time I was getting the backache, I was also getting moody, lethargic, and unable to focus. Looking back, I'm thankful that the backache gave me a chance to put my health on top priority, ahead of everything else including work. And when I did that, surprisingly, I actually became more focused and more productive at work as well. So you can have both health and work, if you decide to.
The human body is built to move. Although there are people who say that our ancestors, being hunter-gatherers, only had to spend 14 hours a week looking for food, and could take the rest of the week to laze around and enjoy themselves, I'm sure they did not sit still in a hunched position for 10 hours at a stretch! Excessive long sitting time in front of the laptop or TV, when only the fingers are getting some form of exercise - in the form of typing or fishing for potato chips out of a bag - is something that only we in the digital age do. Sitting for long periods of time wrecks your posture, you slouch (at least I do) and this puts enormous strain on your back and spine.
This is the story behind Fitfit Health, a Singapore-based start-up. We are passionate about helping people to stay healthy and happy when they are getting things done. After designing and using our very own electric standing desk, we felt much more active, healthier, and most importantly & happier! No more back aches from sitting for too long, or food comas after a heavy lunch -- being on our feet when we want to, without affecting our work, feels great!