Posts tagged sit-to-stand desk

Get Moving

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Movement is key for well-being, but due in part to rapidly changing technologies and lifestyles, we have effectively removed movement from the daily routine. Many popular publications claim that sitting “is the new smoking,” “reduces your lifespan” and “causes cancer.” As an ergonomist, I receive many questions about incorporating movement into the workday that revolve around this negative reaction to sitting. My approach has always been to recommend movement. Sitting all day might be bad, but prolonged standing is not the answer either.

Let’s look at the facts: the typical American spends 95% of the workday sitting. Sitting in static postures for extended periods of time is hard on the body. Such sitting elevates spinal disc pressure, increases muscle loading in the back, neck and shoulders and lowers the demands on the circulatory system, which can impact heart activity, blood flow and fatigue. In fact, sitting for just one hour can result in a 90% decline in production of enzymes that are responsible for burning fat.

But switching to a permanently standing workstation may not be the best solution either. Prolonged standing can be more tiring and requires about 20% more energy. It can cause pooling in the lower legs and has been linked to foot pain, varicose veins and static muscle fatigue in the lower body. The solution is movement, not one posture or the other.

There is increasing evidence that varying posture throughout the day has significant health benefits. Allowing the body to undergo postural changes improves circulation, keeps the spine nourished and minimizes unnecessary static muscle fatigue. There are many ways to achieve postural changes and integrate more spontaneous movement into your day. If you are at a permanently seated workstation, try unlocking the backrest of your chair, adjust the tension to support gentle movement in your upper body when you lean back and look for opportunities to take “micro breaks” to stand up, stretch or take a walk.

To integrate more movement into your day, you can try a height-adjustable table. These workstations allow for the greatest amount of postural variation and have been shown to significantly reduce discomfort and health risks. A 2011 study in conjunction with the CDC found that implementing dedicated height-adjustable workstations and encouraging employees to stand for just one hour per day resulted in a 54% reduction in upper back and neck pain, and a 71% increase in focus. A 2009 Mayo Clinic study found that it was possible to burn an additional 340 calories per day by spending two hours standing. If you’re considering a height-adjustable workstation, think about the types of technology that are available, their energy requirements, the table’s ease of use and the intended use of the table.

No matter what your workstation setup is—seated, sit-stand or standing—the key to optimal health and performance is providing support for the body in neutral, healthy postures and integrating spontaneous movement throughout the day.

Office Stretches

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Sitting for long periods of time can cause key muscles in the body to become tight and ultimately weak. Here are some tips to get moving in the office:

  • Think and work on your feet: Standing while working helps promote increased circulation, mental alertness, core strength, and relieves stress on your back and legs for a productive, pain-free workday. Our Sit-to-Stand desk quickly, quietly, and conveniently converts from a low of 26” to a high of 55” for flexibility in work habits.
  • Take stretch breaks: Take hourly stretch breaks, focusing on leg and feet stretches right at your desk. Try standing on tiptoe or on one leg, and do small lounges to work the calf muscles and knees.
  • Walk the talk: Instead of emailing a coworker who’s nearby, walk to his or her desk to discuss in-person or suggest a mobile meeting where you walk and talk.
  • Climb: Ditch the elevator, and take the stairs wherever possible. Stair climbing is a vigorous activity that counteracts the slowdown of metabolic activity that happens when seated.

In addition to these activities, try these great stretches to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting. Jeremy Shore from Livestrong.com shows you a few easy and effective office stretching techniques.

“Sit, Walk, Move” Facebook Giveaway

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Summer’s coming to an end, and it’s time to head back to school and/or our desk jobs at the office. Most Americans sit for hours at work, and because our bodies weren’t designed for prolonged sitting, it’s starting to take its toll. Researchers found that sitting for too long increases your risk of death, even if you exercise regularly. Sitting is an independent pathology, and dedicated exercise won’t completely undo its harmful effects of disrupted metabolic functions. Bottom line is that prolonged sitting is not the same as exercising too little – whether you’re in shape or obese, being sedentary for a long time at the office is bad for your health.

Relax The Back believes that work should never be a pain and understands the importance of a whole body approach to an ergonomic workspace. Our numerous workspace solutions help you get moving at your desk to interrupt the effects of a sitting job. To highlight how a healthy workspace is a sum of many parts, we are giving away 8 different prizes over 8 weeks. Head to our Facebook page and enter today for a chance to win one of the following products:

We want to challenge you to not only sit but to walk and move at your workspace. Whether it’s moving your feet with a rocking foot machine or taking time away from your chair with our Sit-to-Stand desk, remember that frequent movement is the key to a healthier life and productive and pain-free work day.