A study published just last month explains that it isn't merely a lack of physical exercise that leads to poor cardiovascular health. It turns out that the very act of sitting is also hard on the heart, even in a person who exercises.
Exercise is Not a Cure-All:The study, which involved over 2,000 participants and was published in the online version of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, showed that sedentary behavior may be a strong determinant in the development of cardiorespiratory problems, independent of exercise. According to the study, two hours of sedentary behavior can be just as harmful to the body as 20 minutes of exercise is beneficial.
What does this mean?:
In a nutshell, even a disciplined exercise routine won't protect you from the effects of daily sitting. Yes, even if you exercise, your sedentary behavior at work or elsewhere may still be hurting you. Avoiding sedentary behavior throughout the day has a positive impact on fitness and health outside of regular exercise activity.
How can we avoid sedentary behavior when so many of us work 40 hours a week at jobs in which we spend the bulk of our day seated at a desk? One solution is to switch to a standing desk, otherwise known as an upright workstation. Yep, you can do virtually all of the same stuff standing at a desk that you can sitting at one-look at the computer, type, talk on the phone, write, meet with clients, etc. so why not make the transition?
Standing Desks Defined:
A standing desk simply raises all the features of a traditional desk so that a worker can complete the same tasks while standing or, as is the case with some upright workstations, while strolling.
Many companies have responded to consumer demand for more heart- and body-friendly desk setups by selling height-adjustable desks and even treadmill desks, which feature built-in treadmills so workers can slowly walk while completing their usual workaday tasks. One user of such a desk lost 25 pounds and said goodbye to his chronic back pain not long after he made the switch from his old-fashioned sit-down desk.
Making Your Own Standing Desk:
Want to create a standing desk of your own, or perhaps set aside a weekday and have all of your employees work together to design their own upright workstations? Directions for DIY standing desks are all over the Internet; some standing desks can even be assembled with materials you might already have laying around, and cost next to nothing to build. One blogger featured a standing desk he created himself, using a bit of ingenious stacking, for only twenty-two dollars!
When building a standing desk, just make sure to get the ergonomics right. Each one should be tailored to the person who will use it.
- The top of the desk should be level with or just below the worker's elbows.
- The distance from the worker's face to the computer screen should be between 20 and 28 inches.
- The computer screen should be tilted away from the worker's eyes at an angle of 20 degrees.
With these tips and a bit of ingenuity, you and your coworkers or employees can obliterate the ill-effects of a sedentary workday.
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