How can we get the most out of our days stuck behind a desk? Whether working from home, school or office we spend way to much time sitting down. Is it really that bad? And what about standing desks? – some swear by them, others think it’s just hype. Either way I wanted to shed some light on this and see if we could gain a greater understanding.
The Mayo clinic compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment with those who logged more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with increased sitting risked developing diseases – including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The Chek Institute suggested breathing may also be impacted by prolonged sitting – a reduced curve in your lower back leads to poor posture and all the associated muscle imbalances and breathing faults that go along with it.
Sitting may also impact how we deal with stress – “the instinct to just melt into a couch or slump down into a chair following a stressful situation, even though it may be strong, might not be the best thing to do. Some research suggests you probably would be better off avoiding the couch and going for a walk”.
Building from this: Amy Cuddy has a well-known TEDTalk that explains how standing in a power pose with elbows slightly out, chin lifted, and shoulders back for just two minutes can generate a 20% increase in testosterone and a 25% decrease in the stress hormone cortisol.
Studies have shown that standing desks can improve student health and performance in the classroom – “Test scores showing 10 to 15 percent jump in schools with standing desks as an option”. Although with students standing and fidgeting around even more than normal, teachers have to get used to constant movement in the classroom and standing more themselves.
Sit-to-stand desks appear to encourage standing during instruction while simultaneously limiting misbehaviors. Students and teachers indicated some distractions but were generally positive toward desk implementation.
Sit-stand workstations may reduce low back pain among workers. But further research is needed to help quantify dosage parameters and other health outcomes.
Using a sit stand desk alternating every 30mins resulted in a 1mmHg reduction in DBP and mean artierial blood pressure vs continuos sitting in working adults – modest change, some more than others.
What you can do:
- More office movement overall
- Ergonomic setup
- Standing Desks
- Movement Awareness
- Prompts delivered by Microsoft Outlook were a feasible, low-cost way of prompting office workers to break up their sedentary behaviour, Increase blood flow to legs, – should factored if exisiting health problems could impact.
Take Home Message:
Move More 🙂