“Thinking on your feet” usually means to make it up as you go, to change direction easily, to be responsive. What interests me is whether we should take this metaphor quite literally.

I have read some research about sitting lately. Sitting isn’t good for us. We do it way too much. We aren’t really designed to sit around all day.

Even exercising for 30 minutes daily doesn’t counteract the sedentary work that many of us do. Standing is healthier.

There is a move (pardon the pun) towards standing desks. Our legs and stomachs are meant to be engaged a lot more than they are in a desk job.

This rings true for me. I am not at all sporty but I get very restless after 30 minutes sitting at a desk. And maybe we’re meant to get restless. It is a sign that it’s time for our bodies to move. It is right for us to get up and look around.

Our brains work in movement

Other research also indicates that our brains work best when we’re moving. We’re not really designed to sit and think. We are designed to sit down at the end of the day when the work is done.

If we’re sitting down, it’s because nothing is happening. When something important happens we get off our butts pretty quickly. A charging elephant , for instance, would make me jump.

What about our eyes?

I have a bit of a theory that our eyes aren’t meant to stay focussed in tightly for a long period of time either. I studied a little Alexander technique years ago and my teacher was very big on active moving eyes.

When you focus in visually, do you narrow your focus mentally? When you look out to the horizon, do you widen both your visual and mental focus?

And so, it seems to me that sitting at a desk and squinting at a computer screen may not be the best way to come up with new ideas.

Try it and see

But what do I know? I’m just playing with a few bits of research, wondering what works. Try for yourself. Stretch, stand, move, look out the window. Does it change your perspective? Does it open up your mind and your view simultaneously?

I have been standing at my desk for 15 minutes. My laptop sits on a couple of portable expander files. It’s a makeshift height extender but it works. I must say that my rough draft took half the time it usually might.

Do you have a decision to make? Walk on it. Look around you. Seeing little pieces of the world might well suggest new solutions.

It’s not just the kids who get wriggly from sitting too long. We all need to move. Does moving gently generate energy rather than depleting it? If I worked at a standing desk, could I eat more salted caramel ice cream? Yes please.

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