Recent studies have shown that there is a strong relationship between sedentary behavior and health issues including weight gain, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. How ever the media has sensationalized this to the point of say that “sitting is killing us”. And its obvious, it isn’t really killing us but sitting with poor posture for long periods can have a negative impact on four health and even drastically reduce productivity.
Many office based tasks require a person to be seated. Sitting also offers the benefit of rest for those who are on their feet for long periods. How ever sitting should not be a static task and it normally isn’t. People exert energy by fidgeting, moving their legs sitting upright and even reclining. This shifts weight on the seat and in turn flexing and extending the upper and lower back. The challenge is that many chairs don’t accommodate healthy movement as they don’t move like how the body moves and doesn’t allow the correct range of motion that is required for healthy spinal movement. Even with reclining, if you are too far away from your or don’t have natural vision to your screen, you are probably putting strain on your body.
Standing and walking help offset the problems brought on by prolonged sitting. By changing posture, for just up to one hour a day, can help employees maintain or renew energy and focus and even burn extra calories making them more productive during the day. Furniture that supports movement is essential in modern office design. Desks can accommodate movement to either sit or stand to perform work functions.
Employers have a vital role in the introduction of adaptive furniture. Training and education have to part of any modern healthy office environment where employees are given the opportunity to experience the benefit of the different types of furniture available to enhance wellbeing. Employees, likewise, have a responsibility as well and must become more aware of the options available to them and learn how to choose a good posture and the right places to work more effectively for their work function.
The benefits of these solution are many but none as important as having active, alert and engaged employees.
In summary, a healthy working day should include:
Sitting in a good chair
Having a work surface that is height adjustable
Walking as part of your day at the office
Sitting is important as it reduces fatigue, transfers load to the chair and stabilizes posture when in a good seating position.
All people are different and therefore is is essential to know what works for you to ensure that you are not always sitting or standing too much.
Standing aids blood flow, reducing DVT and can improve metabolic function
Walking further increases blood flow, reduces load on muscled from standing or sitting and also improved metabolic function
Employers should ensure that employees are educated enough to make sure that they are aware of these options available to them and be encouraged to choose the best options for their job function. Its effects productivity and ultimately profitability.