Health in the Workplace – Are you Standing?

Health in the Workplace – Are you Standing?

By Janet H. Thomas, RID I recently joined an on-line webinar co-sponsored by Kristy Lotz of Humantech and Wendy McCubbin of Ergotron titled Sit v. Stand, What’s the Best Ergonomic Design? The answer is a healthy mixing of both each day. Here are some of the facts from Researchers global studies:

  • 50% of office workers are routinely in pain, 16% are in extreme pain every day. 38% of the pain is concentrated in the lower back.
  • Heart disease is two times as likely for office workers as for non-office workers.
  • Non-surgical Carpal Tunnel treatment runs $24,000 – 60,000 and includes 23 days off work. This costs $1 billion dollars annually in the United States.
  • Office workers spend 50 – 70% of their day sitting, and research indicates 7 to 15 hours per day are spent sitting, not including sleeping.
  •  Just 2 hours of continuous sitting lowers good cholesterol by 20%, decreases blood flow, increases blood sugar and slows metabolism 25 – 50%.
  • Researchers have tied excess sitting with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression and more. The malaise is termed ‘The Sitting Disease’.

So what do the experts recommend? James Levine, MD, PhD at the Mayo Clinic suggests standing up for at least three hours a day. The benefits include:

  • Increased calorie burning, 30 – 60 kcal more per hour.
  • Improved posture, reduced stiffness.
  • Increased metabolism, increased blood flow.
  • Increased ability to process information.

I decided to test the theory and started standing. Incorporating 3 hours of standing a day I am surprised at how quickly my energy level increased, I don’t ‘burn out’ after lunch, my mind is fresher at the end of the day and I enjoy moving around. I’m tapping my toes and stretching my calf muscles to the radio while typing this article! Of course too much standing is not good for you either so find a happy medium. Some tips for getting up out of your chair include:

  • Start slowly, trying 30 minutes of standing at a time.
  • Stand while talking with co-workers or talking on the phone.
  • Ask for an adjustable station. At the end of the day raise it up as a reminder to stand the next morning.
  • Schedule walking meetings or standing meetings.
  • Mix sitting and standing throughout the day.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
  • Assume a neutral posture, an at ease position when standing. And an open angle when sitting with shoulders relaxed and spine straight.

JustStand.org has facts, research, tools, guidelines and details on a wellness summit set for July 17, 2013. For products to support sit to stand postures visit Humantech , Ergotron, Steelcase, Herman Miller, Haworth just to name a few. Remember to Just Stand!   Photo by Logan Ingalls

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