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Standing Desks: Is it time to quit sitting?
Sitting is killing us As a nation, we are becoming more sedentary. Findings have shown that the average British adult spends 8.9 hours a day sitting. This rising trend of inactivity at work is contributing to a staggering amount of health issues that compelling evidence has linked to prolonged sitting. These include: Significant reduction in metabolic rate Increased insulin and blood pressure levels Disrupted blood sugar levels Enzymes responsible for burning harmful blood fats losing 90% performance
1953 bus driver study In 1953 a study observed that bus conductor’s risk of heart attack was half than that of the bus drivers. The study observed the prominent difference between their lifestyles was that one of them spent their shift standing and the other seated. Unfortunately the conclusions drawn from this, where that physical activity was key to reducing health risks, and the next several decades focused on this area of research. More recent studies show that the act of standing maybe well go a long way to combating our sedentary lifestyle and improving our health.
Impact of technology We repeatedly see in our assessments that office workers are becoming more sedentary. When you think about the latest in technology and gadgetry, almost all labour saving devices have contributed to the average office worker to sit for in excess of 12 hours a day if you combine sitting at work and getting into the habit of sitting at home. Almost every modern invention has reduced the amount of movement we have each day. The days of standing to wash the dishes are long gone with the modern dishwasher Email has replaced face to face conversations TVs now have remote controls. IPods (we no longer need to get up to change the record) And the list goes on….
We have never been so rich...and so poor Our bodies are designed to stand, and sitting is a completely unnatural resting position for us, which is why people with poor workstations often suffer with a variety of preventable health issues, from severe back pain and spinal issues to muscle degeneration.
What does the future hold? Prevention is better than the cure: We need to invest in our health and wellbeing now with more research into the long term effects of our sedentary behaviour, and encourage better practice within our workforces. Sit stand desks are only the beginning in creating a more dynamic workplace. Even making small changes in the initial office design can encourage us to interact more with our surroundings and cut sitting time.
Research Sitting time and associations with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: 18 studies with 794,577 participants, concluded that on comparison, those who had sedentary lifestyles had: • 112% increase risk of developing diabetes • 147% increase risk of suffering a cardiovascular event • 90% increase risk of cardiovascular mortality • 49% increase risk of all-cause mortality
Last year 30 million work days were lost to musculoskeletal problems and 15 million work days were lost to depression. Alternating between sitting and standing, has excellent benefits for both staff and employers. Standing at work has been shown to burn an extra 30,000 calories a year. Multiple staff whether tall or small can share the same desks, creating a completely adjustable environment. Some desks can tell you when they are available; perfect for hot-desk environments. Every user will have a workstation that fits them personally. This eliminates the need for footrests. Happy and healthy staff are more productive and inspire a better overall workplace culture. Studies have shown that overall work performance and concentration was better in those that stood at work. Workplace Benefits
Dynamic workplaces How we can provide a safer, healthier and more productive work environment? Walking meetings Educating staff on sedentary lifestyles Take phone calls away from the desk Set alarms to remind you to stretch and move Set step challenges between team members Provide sit stand desks and aim for a good balance of sitting and standing Tweak initial designs to encourage movement and flexible workspaces Encourage staff to speak face to face instead of email Dedicate resources to health and mental wellbeing of staff
We want to see a better balance between sitting and standing. As employers, we need to encourage more movement, and better wellbeing for our staff. As a nation we need to combat sedentary lifestyles.
If you require any more information and advice, Call us on 0845 313 1503 Or visit www.posturepeople.co.uk
Blog Posts – Our thoughts on the active working summit Standing desks in schools Your DIY standing desk-what not to do Standing desks are a hit at We Are All Connected Advice for standing desk users How to choose a height adjustable desk New ways to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour Could offices change from sitting to standing? Research Loughborough University – Sedentary behaviours The Lancet bus study- Conductor vs Driver Forbes- Is sitting the new smoking Additional reading