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September 11, 2017

Deskbound: Standing up to a Sitting World

Deskbound: Standing up to a Sitting World

By: Dr. Kelly Starrett with Juliet Starrett & Glen Cordoza

Deskbound is a great book for not just office workers, but all people living the typical sedentary modern life who are ready to learn how to live and move in the ways our bodies are designed to do.  As someone who is very susceptible to repetitive stress injuries and muscular pain, I found this book to be an invaluable resource in that it told me not just why sitting is bad for me, but steps I can take to reduce sitting time, prevent and treat muscular tension and chronic pain, improve my desk and chair ergonomics, transition to a standing desk, and handle situations such as car and airplane travel.  The author, Dr. Kelly Starrett, has extensive experience working with athletes, elite military personnel, as well as everyday office workers and children.  His approach to body mechanics and mobility applies across the board, whether you are strength-training, running, picking up your groceries, or typing at your keyboard.

According to my own research and experience, changing one’s posture by willpower alone is extremely difficult and some scientific research reveals a weak link between posture and pain in the first place. So for me, one of the weakest parts of this book is its implicit assumption that knowledge of the proper way to move will magically enable us to start doing so, and that by performing everyday movements in perfect form, one can prevent musculoskeletal pain problems and degeneration in the first place.  This approach tends to overemphasize posture and create a fear-based response to improper movements or positions, as if our bodies are one step away from the wrong move.

Nonetheless, understanding the best ways to move and position oneself is necessary in a society full of less-than-ideal circumstances for promoting the movement we need to stay healthy and mobile, so I patiently read through all the details, helpfully supplemented by numerous pictures and diagrams.  Moreover, Starrett’s mobility prescriptions rightly acknowledge the role muscle knots, myofascial tension, and reduced range of motion play in our pain problems, and I look forward to putting them all into practice.  You won’t find your typical exercises or static stretches here, but rather a range of self-massage techniques that actually make good use of all those massage balls and foam rollers you might have lying around.  I recommend you pick up this book, but you might want to stand up while reading!

Review By:  Alison Frolik