It should come as no surprise that sitting at work all day is really bad for us. You’ve probably seen the headlines: “Sitting is killing you.” “Sitting is the new smoking.” In case you didn’t have time to read the articles, let us break it down for you. People who sit for 4 or more hours a day are more likely to have chronic diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease; sit for 6 or more hours a day and you’re at significant risk of getting diabetes. Sitting for long periods of time can also cause neck and lower back pain, muscle degeneration, and circulation problems. Yikes!
Don’t get worked up yet. It’s not all doom and gloom. Cutting your total sitting time by 3 hours each day can extend your life by 2 big beautiful years. What can you do to cut your seat time? Well, studies show that people spend more time sitting on work days than on their days off, so it makes a lot of sense to try to make more time for moving at work. Now, we know what you’re thinking. “I have an office job. What choice do I have? I have to sit all day.” Not true. There are plenty of ways that you can add some movement to your day and still get work done. Here are our top three suggestions.
One of the easiest ways to sit less is to stand up. Of course, then you’re way up here and your work is way down there. A standing desk is the perfect way to bring your work up to your level while helping you feel better. Studies have shown that using standing desks can lead to improved posture, reduced upper back and neck pain, better moods, and reduced risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
There are plenty of options that can help you ease in to being a stander. This Safco Xpressions Stand-Up Workstation is compact enough to take the place of your current computer stand or be used in conjunction with a small desk or work table. It also has lots of unique features that make it a great choice. Its Swinging Pendulum™ Footrest Bar allows for natural fidgeting and motion while standing, so you get even more movement throughout the day. Plus, the back panel provides storage for file folders, notebooks, and other small items. It even doubles as a message center. You can write on the tempered glass surface with a dry erase marker. Even if you want to keep your standard desk, adding a stand up workstation or table to your office will prompt you to stand up while you review documents, read your mail, or meet with co-workers, It’s an easy way to add some standing time to your day.
Your office isn’t the only place you can stand up. Common areas are another great place to add standing surfaces. Add some taller bistro tables in your breakroom. Put counter height tables in meeting rooms and collaborative spaces. We really like the Nemo Bar from Izzy+. It looks great and can even be wired for electricity so people can plug in laptops and other devices. It will become the hub of your office in no time.
Not sure you can commit to standing all day? Think about an adjustable height desk. Adjustable height work surfaces can be raised and lowered as needed so you can stand up for part of the day and then sit down when you’re tired or are working on something that’s more comfortable to do while sitting. You’ll still see benefits even though you aren’t standing all day. Spending 10-20 minutes every hour or so standing has been shown to improve creativity and focus and boost energy.
If you’re looking for an adjustable height work surface, we love Symmetry’s Clarity line. In addition to the standard rectangular desks you see all over, Symmetry offers height-adjustable dog leg and L-shaped workstations. That’s something you don’t see very often. And you have your choice of three different lift controls: electric, pneumatic, or manual crank.
If a whole new desk isn’t in your budget, take a look at a sit-to-stand converter. Converters sit on your existing desk and can be raised when you want to stand and then lowered back down to desk height when you want to sit down. We suggest Victor’s High Rise line. The DC300 offers independent pneumatic lift for the keyboard and monitor so you can adjust it to fit you exactly.
If standing isn’t for you, you can still move more at work. Just choose a chair that lets you move while you sit. “Motion seating” is a huge trend right now. It sounds fancy, but it just means that the chair is built to encourage you to make constant small changes to your position and posture throughout the day. If you’ve seen one of your co-workers sitting on an exercise ball at work, they’re on the right track. With motion seating, you get similar movement in a safer package. (Are we the only ones who picture reaching for a folder and rolling off the ball?) The base will keep you steady while seat will keep you moving, which is good news for your spine, muscles, and circulation.
Choosing a chair that allows for movement
If you want to try out a motion chair, take a look at Via’s Swopper or Safco’s Zenergy Ball chair. Your back will thank you, and so will your brain. Using a chair that encourages movement has been shown to increase mental performance by 15%!