Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sit Less to Achieve More!

It's no secret that office chairs are earning a bad rap - not because of poor design, but because of overuse. Like all good things, overuse of office chairs can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, and with all the rising health knowledge, most experts agree that sitting really is "the new smoking." But thankfully, there is a way to avoid the health risks without sacrificing your work ethic. And the solution may be a lot simpler than you think! In today's article, we explore all the benefits (and potential drawbacks) of standing in the workplace - enjoy!

Why Stand?

The phrase "sitting is the new smoking" was coined for a reason. According to WebMD, researchers have discovered links between sedentary lifestyles and poorer mental health, heart disease, and obesity. Cancer, disability, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even premature death are just a few of the other health concerns linked with chronic sitting. On the other hand, the human body was designed almost perfectly for standing up. Even the very act of standing encourages the spine to keep and maintain its ideal S-shape, toning the abdominal muscles, and strengthening the legs to combat many of the most common office related ailments. In fact, most standing office workers report improved focus, better physical health, and reduced pain. Talk about standing up for your health!

The Standing Solution

Perhaps the most obvious problem associated with sitting is what to do about work! Anyone perched in front of a two-and-a-half foot tall desk all day would wonder how to type without breaking their back. Thankfully, office furniture manufacturers have developed a solution. Sit-to-stand office desks have become one of the hottest trends of the working world. Not only can employees stand and sit with them, but the ability to transition between both positions allows new standers to acclimate to a vertical lifestyle at a pace that's comfortable for individuals. While permanently elevated desks require users to stand all the time, desks that can be raised also allow much needed sitting breaks for anyone working more than a few hours at a time.

Learning to Stand

For most, the act of standing isn't so hard. The act of standing for hours on end on the other hand definitely is. The best way to learn to stand though, is to accessorize! Simple tools like cushioned foot mats, back braces, and compression socks to encourage vertical blood flow through the legs all help to reduce the pain of transition. Standing office workers who've truly mastered the art often take the time to work out their core. Because the abdominal muscles are the spine's main support structure, in addition to the back, toning one's abs goes a long way towards improving posture. In the end, a toned stomach is always a benefit, not just for standers, but for sitters - and beachgoers too!

The Scares

So you may have heard some of the newer "scares" associated with a standing work style. Employees complaining of sore feet, tremendous leg pain, and even low back pain are not unheard of in the standing office world; that's why knowing about balance is so important. Just as too much sitting is poor for one's health, so is too much standing. For anyone standing in one place for more than 3 hours at a time, seated breaks are highly advised. A quick 20-30 minute sitting session can help take some of the stress off one's legs. Adding adjustable keyboard trays to office workstations can help users transition between the standing sessions and break periods without sacrificing productive time.

What if Sitting Isn't An Option?

Unfortunately, too many offices still have restrictions on standing desks and standing employees. However, there are still many ways to retain your health despite working a sedentary desk job. The chief way: To not stay sedentary! Employees who take every opportunity to walk around the office, take the stairs, jog on lunch breaks, and eat healthy, on and off the clock, can greatly improve their chances against "sitting disease." Purchasing chairs with ergonomic adjustment features can help encourage the body to keep good posture, which incidentally is one of the most important aspects of discouraging sitting disease. In addition, the internet is filled with plenty of seated stretches and exercises designed especially for office workers without the standing option. Check them out, and see if you can't stay healthy!

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