Want to boost your bottom line and add years to your life at the same time?
Then – assuming you are reading this while seated – simply stand up. Or if you are already standing, walk around a bit.
That’s it. Now you can sit back down, secure in the knowledge that you have done yourself and your law practice a favor.
Actually, the medical evidence is a bit starker than that.
“He Who Sits The Most Dies The Soonest” screamed the headline of a story in The Atlantic on the dangers of prolonged sitting. The article cited studies showing that people who sat more than 11 hours a day had a 40 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease, diabetes or cancer in the next three years than people who sat less than four hours a day.
And the risk is not completely offset by exercise. Those who work out regularly but still sit for extended periods remain at high risk.
The reason is simple. Our bodies were not designed to be folded into a fixed posture with our knees, ankles and hip joints static, our backs insufficiently braced, lower body unloaded, necks craned forward and brains bombarded by lethal pixels on a vapor screen.
In fact, I’m feeling a little sick just writing the above sentence – and I did it standing up.
The average person spends a whopping 15.5 hours each day planted on their rear ends, according to the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Typing on keyboards, browsing the web, sitting in meetings, driving in cars, waiting in court.
And as soon as we get off work what do we do? That’s right, we sit back down. In front of the flat-screen TV, at the dinner table, in the Olive Garden, parked in a Lay-Z-Boy, folded into fixed postures with our knees, ankles and hip joints static, etc., etc.
In fact, the research shows we spend up to 90 percent of our leisure time in a seated position.
Lawyers are in the ultra-high risk category. Much of what we do all day has to be done sitting done. Or does it?
How about getting a podium and do some of your computer and ipad work on your feet? Conduct your telephone conversations on the move. Walk to work once a week. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Hoof it to lunch and support your neighborhood eateries.
Buy an egg timer and put it on your desk. Every fifteen minutes get up and move around.
Why do you have to talk with associates and paralegals about cases while seated in an office or conference room? Chat while walking to the local coffee shop and back.
One of the studies showed that reducing your sitting time by 10 percent can add 2 years to your life. That’s a lot of extra billable hours.
Jay Reeves is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. He has practiced in both states and was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He writes the Risk Man column of practice pointers and risk management tips. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 919-619-2441.