Should you stand as a GP?
Sitting is the new smoking. Staying sedentary for several hours a day increases your risk of diabetes. So should you stand as a GP?
I remember visiting my GP as a child. Sit in the waiting room normally sullen and low because of yet another episode of tonsillitis.
Then I was called into the doctor’s office. I would enter a room that CQC would now shut down in a heartbeat with mosaic rugs, plush furry chairs, and a beautiful mahogany desk.
And there was the GP….sitting behind his desk. I remember him moving in his chair to get some forms from a cabinet. I remember him asking me to stand as he examined me sitting in his executive chair, and I remember him always sitting behind a desk.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago. I remember finishing work with my shoulders feeling tight, my lower back aching for a stretch, as I scooted in my chair to get a form from my cabinet next to my desk. It was at that point I realised I had been sitting in my chair for over four hours.
I wanted to change this sedentary life. I had a chat with my partners and highlighted I would be changing my room. Shortly after I got a rising desk (Yoyo-90).
I love it. The build quality is excellent with significant heft. The hydraulic risers are simple to clip and push my whole station upwards to allow me to stand. Initially I could only manage an hour or so before my legs tired out and I had to sit again. A further investment in a standing mat helped there. Within a month I was standing while doing all my admin. Then I took the plunge and stood while consulting with patients.
Some will feel less happy about standing while consulting. I know in sharing my story I have heard several criticisms such as:
Over the past year, I have not found any of these to be true.
Sounds encouraging and even our Secretary of State for Health and Social Care – Matt Hancock is very pro-standing desks.
However, it is important to recognise that standing desks on their own is not enough. This is a useful article and another here that comments on the opposing view. This includes complications of standing for long periods (tiredness, varicose veins, musculo-skeletal pain from adjusted positions of screens etc.)
Encouraging our patients to be more active is important. So for Self-care week, I am showing how it works in my practice. Watch the video below and feedback your thoughts on should you stand as a GP?
It is Free