Standing-up For Yourself


By Dawid Cieloszczyk, 2L (admittedly, ironically written from a chair)

Standing-up’ for what you believe in is often a daunting task, particularly in a legal setting, where conservatism and resistance to change is practically constitutional. “Sit-down and understand your place in the world”, echo the people at the helm of the vessel. Encouraged to preserve the status quo and slide comfortably into the pre-made mold, students walk along the assembly line. “It’s not my time or place to make a stir” (and not now or ever, really). But these are some of the finest minds across the country. How is it that the cashier at Zellers is more likely to carry the blazing torch of La Révolution? Do they have less to lose?

It would be trite for me to tell you that health is not only in your best interest, but the economic wellbeing of the country. We may not agree on morality, religion, or foreign policy, but we can certainly all agree with the inherent and extrinsic value of health. We jog in the rain, fill our plate with such strange substances as quinoa and buckwheats and other reindeer food, but we mindlessly plump our gluteus maximuses down for often more than half of the world’s rotation. We are addicted to sitting and we weren’t evolved for this.

Fascinatingly enough, sitting for 6 or 8 hours a day has devastating long-term effects on our bodies and minds, whether we exercise or not. In the legal profession of course, one can expect to become an artisan-sitter without moving a muscle except for one’s heart, maybe. There are some staggering statistics out there, and the bottom line is this: our mortality rate increases substantially, we burn fewer calories and grow much fatter, and we actually think less efficiently. Sadly, exercise does not mitigate these effects.

With standing desks, employees were found to be up to 10% more productive in some studies. It seems beyond reason that we could increase productivity, profitability, and induce significant health benefits with such a simple transition. If you use the term capitalist to label yourself, you must follow your reason to the rational conclusion here. If you exercise and eat healthily, you might as well stop, unless you start standing too.

While the research is there, and the benefits are fairly clear, the only question remaining is what impediment exists in attaining such glorious bounty? Other than those who sip from the cup-of-no-concerns, there are many who are genuinely alarmed, but are afraid to be too stirring, too subversive, because only futuristic renegades stand at their tables tapping away on their keyboards. So holier-than-thou, those wretched humans who act so morally and physically superior!

The battle for your health is not meek, and sometimes a sense of apathy may overcome, particularly when you realize that your entire life habits are malformed, and when there is a culture of not caring or otherwise – trust me, self-awareness is crippling. For crying out loud, we don’t even sit on toilets correctly, but we’ll leave that for another day. Indeed, life is not permanent either, and it’s the quality of years that matter. However, if this is true, health is the only thing that we have; it is the only thing that can ensure a good life, one of quality. Why fall into the erroneous mode of reasoning that ‘literally everything will kill you, so you might as well start degrading your earthly temple’?

Are we a profession of advocates and negotiators who stand above the violent tides of adversity to defend our clients, and then cower in fear at the prospect of advocating for ourselves, for the good of the profession as a whole? What a devastating irony that would be.

Links for some research: (a contrary opinion to consider)

DIY Standing Desks: