Studies were conducted to validate the harmful effects of prolonged sitting to health and performance of workers. Extended sitting may lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome, increased blood pressure, and excess body fats.
The list even included cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota recommended periodic standing as the solution to counter the adverse effects of too much sitting.
THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF SITTING
Studies show that adults who spend to at least 2 hours a day in front of the TV or digital devices will increase the risk of death from any cause by 50%. In the next three years, the risk of death for sitting for more than 11 hours a day will increase by 40% compared to sitting for less than four hours a day. Moreover, workers who have sedentary lifestyles for more than 10 years have double the risk of colon cancer.
Dr. Genevieve Healy, of the University of Queensland in Australia, says that “even when a sedentary lifestyle is interrupted with going to the gym for 30 minutes daily is not enough to reverse the harmful effects of sitting for more than 8 hours a day.” This may be the case but solutions are available for sedentary job workers.
Aside from periodic standing, Dr. Alan Hedge, the director of Human Factors and Ergonomics Research at Cornell University introduce the use of sit to stand desk or a standing desk converter as part of his sit to stand programs. A standing desk creates movement in the workplace. Standing uses more muscles, burning more calories, will result in weight loss, improves memory, and concentration.
HOW TO GET UP AND GET MOVING
Intentional standing and standing in moderation is the best option one can make to reduce health hazards linked by prolonged sitting. Standing requires more energy, burn extra calories, tone muscles, and improve posture. Standing makes employees alert and productive.
Solutions to reduce sitting time and develop sit-to-stand work routines are now available to workers. There is a growing demand for standing desks that can be adjusted to sitting and standing position based on the task at hand. A movement like stretching and standing every 20 to 30 minutes while working boosts the growth of natural antioxidants that kills cancer-causing free radicals.
A study published "Brain, by the Oxford University Press journal "Brain, reports that standing up activates cerebral circulation giving the brain fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients it craves and releases mood-enhancing chemicals.
To break the damaging effects of prolonged sitting, experts recommend the use of sit to stand workstations. A concurrent statement from an international group of experts was published in British Journal of Sports Medicine on March 2015. It provided a set of recommendations that will encourage workers to stand and/or move frequently. For an occupation that requires mostly sitting or desk-based, workers are encouraged to start standing for at least 2 hours per day while doing the walking and working. This will progress gradually to a total of 4 hours per day of standing.
How is this achieved? The sitting while working will be periodically changed to standing while working with the use of sit to stand desk. Also, this change from sitting to standing is possible by having active, intentional standing breaks. Another recommendation was the provision of health information goals.
Aside from implementing company rules on improved nutrition, reducing alcohol, smoking, and stress management, companies should also inform their staff about the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting. The workers must be given information on how extended sitting practices may increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases, obesity, colon cancer, and even premature death.
THE ESSENTIAL HABIT THAT ACTUALLY WORKS
Standing desk could have an impact on the productivity, well-being, concentration, and ability to work. To determine if this is viable, a startup company in Latvia the Draugiem Group, decided to put to the test and measure with scientific accuracy the effects of using a standing desk.
They used DeskTime an app they develop to track their time and productivity. Time is tracked when spent in standing, and in sitting. The productivity percentage is computed by dividing the total time worked by the amount of time spent using applications. This test is done to seven people while using the standing desk for one week each.
The conclusion, based on the result of the test conducted shows that there is a 10% increase in productivity in comparison to a time when a standing desk was not used. Also, there is an increased in concentration on task and standing gives them the drive to get things done. There are employees whose work requires extended sitting. The challenge is how to input activities to break the sedentary lifestyle.
Here are suggestions from experts to help workers increase concentration, enhance group performance, and develop a healthier heart and brain.
- Use the stairs whenever possible instead of an elevator.
- Exercise or yoga pose during lunch break with co-workers.
- Visit co-workers in person instead of sending an e-mail when applicable.
- Walk or bike for outdoor exercise.
- During periodic breaks, sit to stand and stretch, do some walking or lifting hand weights.
- Park at a distance and walk to the office.
- Periodically change from sitting to standing.
What working habit actually makes you healthy? Standing Desk Movement. Standing desk encourages movement among sedentary job workers, It actually works based on the experiments done by various companies such as Draugiem Group and FF Venture Capital, a capital firm that supports technology companies and found that standing leads to more actively sharing ideas. This result led the firm to install standing desk in their meeting rooms.