How Your Chair is Killing You Softly

Because of the need to be working or at work, many individuals end up being nailed to their chairs for the greater part of the day. The normal eight hour day often extends to ten hours, leaving many with a more sedentary lifestyle. To cram more time, many end up eating at their desk, leading to greater issues health-wise for working men and women all over the world.

Many individuals eventually burn off the stress and the fat accumulated from a hard day’s work with an hour or two at the gym. Employers on the other hand, have started to experiment with standing desks to deal with the health issues associated with extended periods of being seated and non-movement. Having standing desks may be the extreme, but a new study from the ergonomics team of Cornell University also identifies issues when it comes to standing for extended periods of time.

Standing, the team says, “dramatically increases the risks of carotid atherosclerosis (ninefold the risk) because of the additional load on the circulatory system and it also increases the risks of varicose veins, so standing all day is unhealthy. The performance of many fine motor skills also is less good when people stand rather than sit.”

The team further found that standing stations, such as the so called treadputers, actually decrease the work productivity of the individual. While there is a great argument as to the kind of work actually being done, the common sense thinking is quite reasonable for those being switched from sitting to standing.

The happy compromise this team recommends is a regular and scheduled standing and walking, which they believe can compensate for any issues that may arise from long stretches of sitting. The process of breaking the “sitting cycle” so to speak is quite simple and is done this way:

  1. Sit comfortably when doing work at the computer.
  2. Use a height adjustable, downward tilting keyboard tray to find the best posture when performing the work,
  3. Take a break every thirty minutes by standing up for about two minutes and moving about.

Standing up from your chair is not enough as the recommended accompanying movement fosters blood circulation throughout the muscles. The movement need not be vigorous — doing jumping jacks or walking to the water cooler may be enough to get the benefits. There are many other ways to satisfy this movement requirement, such as walking to the printer, standing up during a meeting, or using the stairs.

Other recommended ways to foster the movement from the desk and help in the blood circulation are as follows:

  1. Spread out the office. If you have the space, create a layout that requires getting up from the desk. This includes having the printer or photocopier across the room or opting to walk up to an associate instead of just picking up the phone and dialing.
  2. Wearing Comfort. Wearing a stuffy suit or those attractive stilettos would only convince you to stay at your desk. Choosing comfortable office clothes and shoes can actually make you move more in the office.

In the end, not only will moving keep you healthy, it will also make you more productive and happy in the long run.

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