Millions of people around the world spend a majority of their day sitting. Whether we sit in our cars heading out to the office to sit at our desks, or spend the day sitting in home offices, we are spending an ever increasing amount of time being sedentary. Even in our free time we sit with our televisions, laptops, tablets, and video games. All of this excessive sitting is killing us, quite literally. Studies show that people who spend 23 hours or more a week in a sedentary position had 64% to 84% greater chance of dying from Cardiovascular Disease than those who spent less than 11 hours a week in a sedentary position.
Experiments done with mice show that by restricting their movements to simulate sedentary behavior, they quickly developed a myriad of health problems from higher levels of fatty acids in their blood to insulin resistance. Our sedentary lifestyle is a contributing factor in the rise of diabetes, and studies show that interrupting prolonged sitting with just two-minute breaks for light to moderate activities, like walking, helped people keep glucose and insulin levels under control.
Most people have heard this warning before, but disregard it because they feel their excessive sitting can be counteracted by visiting the gym between the hours of sitting at work and sitting in our free time. This is not the case; workouts cannot counteract the damage the body sustains from excessive sedentary behaviors. Researchers’ message to doctors and the public is:
“Being sedentary is common and dangerous for our long term health, particularly for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and that this link appears to be over and above other lifestyle factors such as our diet and physical activity.”
So what are our options to change our lifestyles and improve our health? First of all, like researchers suggest, we should break up long periods of sitting with activity. Every hour you should stand up, stretch and spend at least two minutes engaged in some form of physical activity.
Another option is to eliminate the excessive sitting altogether. By using a combination of a standing desk, an anti-fatigue mat, and a sit-stand stool, we can dramatically reduce the periods of inactivity, and increase blood flow and muscle activity.
What are the benefits of a standing desk? Spending a majority of your day standing versus sitting helps keeps your heart rate up, you burn more calories, and the flexing of your muscles helps produce lipoprotein lipase and other molecules that play an important role in processing fats and sugars which maintain a healthy metabolism.
Other benefits to using a standing desk includes calorie burning; if you burned 72 calories an hour standing over 54 calories burned sitting, that would translate to 7 pounds of avoided weight gain a year! We also have to look at the fact that so many people have chronic back pain, not just manual laborers, but also people who do little to no physical labor. This is because excessive sitting and slouching in chairs has underutilized our back muscles, which negatively affects our posture, and leads to chronic pain.
Incorporating a sit-stand stool into the equation of a standing desk gives the user the option to lean back and relive pressure from the legs and feet while maintaining a healthy posture and blood flow, which can reduce or eliminate back pain that is created or exacerbated by traditional office chairs.
There are some detrimental effects from prolonged standing as well, notably knee, ankle, and foot pain as well as blood pooling in the lower extremities which can lead to pain and inflamed veins, otherwise known as varicose veins. While this type of damage mainly affects people who spend a majority of their work hours standing over a period of months and years, not necessarily workers who choose to stand for a few hours, the risks are there, and should be addressed. However, they can be mitigated and managed with the use of ergonomic furniture. Utilizing a sit-stand stool with your standing desk prevents blood pooling and allows the user to remove pressure from the lower extremities as needed, relieving potential aches and pains.
Another device that workers should incorporate into a standing workstation is an anti-fatigue mat. Anti-fatigue mats not only provide the user with increased comfort, they keep the body slightly off-balance which engages the muscles to prevent pain and fatigue as well as increase blood flow, helping to prevent pooling and inflammation.
The detrimental effects of our ever increasing sedentary lifestyle far outweigh the negative effects of spending more time standing. Working at a standing work station gives the user the ability to stretch, move different groups of muscles, and keep blood flowing constantly while working, instead of simply breaking up periods of sitting with activity.
By using the standing desk in conjunction with an anti-fatigue mat and sit-stand stool, you can improve your health and reduce your pain while mitigating negative standing effects on your body.
Production Automation offers a wide range of ergonomic products to help keep people healthy and pain-free. Now that we’ve gone over the benefits and risks associated with sitting and standing, let us show you the solutions and options we offer.
The adjustable height of the ErgoPerfect Workstation ensures that workers can carry out work in well-balanced body positions and also avoid severe and chronic health problems in the long term. Choose between a wide range of standard or customized table tops.
Sit-stands give you ability to take advantage of the benefits of standing while giving you the choice to lean back and relieve pressure from your lower extremities. View all available options that Production Automation offers.
This is the widest range of options we have. There are so many types of anti-fatigue mats, the mat you need depends on the environment it is to be placed in (wet, dry, cold, cleanroom, ect.) listed below are all of our anti-fatigue mat manufacturers. We understand that the amount of options can be overwhelming, so if you need assistance please contact us at 888-903-0333 or [email protected], one of sales reps would be more than happy to guide you through the selection process.
- Wearwell Anti-Fatigue Mats
- Andersen Anti-Fatigue Mats
- Ergomat Anti-Fatigue Mats
- Pro-Tech Ortho Anti-Fatigue Mats
- Barefoot Anti-Fatigue Mats
- Milagon Anti-Fatigue Mats
- PAC’s Main Matting Page
There are dangers in maintaining one body position for too long, whether sitting or standing, but as our jobs and recreational activities become more sedentary we must find ways to protect our health, comfort, and overall well-being.
Using a new style of working, such as a standing workstation, we can start to reverse the negative effects, improving our health, morale, and output.