Thinking on your feet may save your life!

Standing at workstation

As part of our refurbishment an adjustable sit-stand workstation was installed at the reception desk to reduce the number of hours spent sitting by our front desk team. This device allows the operator to sit or stand at the computer and is fully and easily adjustable in height. This initiative was in response to a growing body of medical research indicating the dangers of prolonged sitting to health.

The most recent data is from the 45 and Up Study sponsored by the National Heart Foundation and conducted by Sydney University’s Department of Public Health. This is the most extensive public health study in the Southern hemisphere which studied the effects of prolonged sitting on the health and mortality of 222,497 adults over the age of 45. The study found that adults who sat 11 or more hours a day had a 40% greater chance of dying within the next 3 years compared to those who sat for less than 4 hours per day. This result took account of their daily physical activity, weight and health status. While regular exercise is still important it does not appear to negate the harmful effects of prolonged sitting.

So why is prolonged sitting so bad for us?

Sitting at workstation

When we sit our general level of muscle activity is significantly reduced. Muscle activity helps the body to efficiently clear blood sugars and fat levels. An increase in blood glucose can lead to inflammation which over a prolonged period can lead to heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Research indicates that a 2 minute light intensity walk every 20 minutes can reduce blood glucose by 30%

As the average adult spends 90% of their leisure time sitting, in addition to sitting on the way to work and at their job, it seems critical that we find ways to sit less throughout our waking hours.

Tips to minimise prolonged sitting

  • Stand whilst on the phone or reading documents
  • Stand in meetings or have a walking meeting with a small group
  • Walk to your colleague’s office rather than emailing
  • Try a sit-stand workstation (see the ergoport link below for product information). Make sure you are standing in good alignment with even weight on your feet with the hips over the ankles and the elbows at 90 degrees with the hands resting on the keyboard. While standing all day is also not ideal it seems the best solution to vary yoursitting and standing time throughout the day.
  • Stand on public transport or get off a stop or two early
  • Walk around the block whilst waiting for your lunch or coffee order

Hear what our staff have to say about our new sit-stand workstation.

“I love how easy it is to lift up and push down with whatever is going on, eg if I’m doing other standing activities – going to the printer, taking payment, it’s much easier to be standing to go back and forth between the devices, than continuously sitting down and standing up again (or worse, leaning over the computer!).

The computer comes with me and my work; I don’t surrender to it!”

Michelle Zirkzee

“After having had jobs where I either stood all the time or sat all the time, I can honestly see the value in the workstand. Having the choice to switch between standing and sitting positions during the day definitely helps to keep fatigue at bay and makes me more aware of my posture. Plus, I find it nice to stand when serving clients; it just seems more friendly and attentive to be at the same eye level.”

Belinda Kellagher

For further information follow the links below:

Category: Health