We think of our grandparents to be at a stage of life where a sedentary afternoon spent sitting down is understandable and acceptable. Yet with the growth of digital technology at the workplace, sitting still for long hours is no longer reserved for the elderly.
Recent research from Edinburgh shows that many desk jobs lead office workers to spend up to thirty minutes more sitting down each day than members of our retired population. That means most of us with desk-bound careers are more sedentary than those over 75.
The study revealed that middle-age men especially vulnerable to senior-level immobility, spending close to half an hour longer in their desk chairs every day of the work week. Working women under 45 are not far behind their male cohorts, spending only six minutes less than seniors sitting away the work day.
Don’t Let Your Body Take an Early Retirement
Take short, active breaks. Go for a walk. That pedometer app on your smartphone comes in handy for helping you realize how little you move. Use it to motivate extra steps throughout the day.
Engage with a standing desk workstation all day long. Standing up gets the blood flowing and keeps the body stimulated. When you feel that two PM slump coming on after lunch, stand up and work. The body intuitively associates stillness with sleep. Standing up with a sit-stand desk prevents you from nodding off like grandpa.
Stretch, bend, and move in place. You don’t have to run a marathon around the office to stay active. Use micro-movements like stretching exercises to stay flexible and keep feeling productive.
Developed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fitwel, a new workplace design standard seeks to improve office health and productivity through improvements in design and policy. The government certification analyzes and assesses facilities designed for work for well-being and health benefits including indoor air quality, well-being enhancements for employees, such as implementing sit stand workstations, and even evaluating the overall design of the building itself. Fitwel will be used as a standard for new federal government construction projects.
The Reason for the Sit Stand Focus: Office Workers Spend 5 Hours a Day at Their Desks
New evidence shows that alternating between standing and sitting at your desk throughout the work day improves circulation and energy. The design of the Lotus Sit-Stand allows for easier transition from sitting to standing positions.
In a recent poll by American City & County, 53% of government office workers agreed that standing desks boost productivity.
How Experts View the Value of Sit Stand Desks
Workplace Trends expert Jonathan Webb sees sit-stand technology as a practical and healthy part of the new standard. “The cost of sit-stand desks continues to drop as the product becomes more popular worldwide. The cost delta between sit-stand and static desks has dropped over 50 percent in recent years. Secondly, organizations see the benefits of allowing workers the ability to sit and stand throughout the day. For one, keeping knowledge workers at their most productive place – their computer – makes for a more productive employee. In addition, there are significant health benefits to altering postures throughout the day, including improved metabolism and heart rates, and reduced blood pressure.” Fitwel hopes to provide a definitive outline of the essential characteristics of a healthy workplace more clearly for business owners, human resource departments and facility managers.