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Sit/Stand Desks and Moving Around at Your Workstation

So what we know is that the body works best when it's moving regularly throughout everyday. This movement helps us with movement of the lymphatic system which is our immune system. It's full of fluid that gets pumped around the body in vessels kind of like our blood.But unlike our blood, it doesn't have a heart to pump the fluid around.  Over the last few years I have been recommending that people get a sit stand desk for their office-based jobs if they get the opportunity. There are injuries associated with prolonged standing and those that are associated with prolonged sitting. It therefore, makes sense if you are stuck at a desk to mix it up and MOVE when you are able to.

There is a lot of research indicating that being sedentary can lead to heart problems, diabetes, obesity and premature mortality [1]. Some businesses are recognising this and some are looking out for their employees. I have heard of businesses installing walking tracks around the office for staff to take phone calls and get moving around the track!Constantly maintaining correct posture throughout the whole day is usually impractical for most people and it doesn’t address the problem of being stationary. It’s better to sit or stand with a good posture than not, but it’s important to move around regularly. Not moving may change the effects on your tissues which can cause discomfort and even pain.

SIT/STAND DESKS MAY HELP LOWER BACK PAIN In one study, lower back pain was significantly reduced by a small amount with reductions in workplace sitting time [2]. A systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that sit-stand desks may help with low back discomfort [3]. This may not sound like much, but this is the highest level of research and to me, this is quite significant. It shows that alternating position alone may help with low back discomfort. There are obviously other things that you can do.

Make sure you check out Dr Adam Pitt’s (Osteopath/Director) 40 sec break routine (insert link to youtube video)

Treadmill desks have been shown to be the better option for physiological improvements [4].

However, they have been linked for decreased productivity [4] and if you imagine being in an office with 20 relatively noisy treadmill desks you can see why. However, walking on the spot at a sit/stand desk could be a good substitute with potentially similar results. So as cool as they might be, treadmill desks are not necessarily practical.

If you’re worried about the cost of standing desks or your employer won’t agree to giving you one, there is a cheaper option. Standing desk converters are available, which go on your regular desk and take your monitor and keyboard. They are designed to be adjusted between a sitting and standing height.

I know what you’re thinking… BUT I’M WORRIED ABOUT THE COST! MY BOSS WON’T GO FOR IT! And do you know what, review of studies concluded that there was no decrease in productivity when changing from a seated desk to a sit/stand desk [5]. 3 of the studies reviewed demonstrated INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY.

HOW TO TRANSITION TO A SIT/STAND DESK

The aim is to gradually progress to approximately 50-50 sitting/standing I.e. in an 8 hr shift,approximately 4 hours sitting 4 hours standing. Give yourself at least few weeks to get to this point.


So what we know is that the body works best when it's moving regularly throughout everyday. This movement helps us with movement of the lymphatic system which is our immunesystem. It's full of fluid that gets pumped around the body in vessels kind of like our blood.But unlike our blood, it doesn't have a heart to pump the fluid around.  Over the last few years I have been recommending that people get a sit stand desk for their office-based jobs if they get the opportunity. There are injuries associated with prolonged standing and those that are associated with prolonged sitting. It therefore, makes sense if you are stuck at a desk to mix it up and MOVE when you are able to. There is a lot of research indicating that being sedentary can lead to heart problems, diabetes, obesity and premature mortality [1]. Some businesses are recognising this and some are looking out for their employees. I have heard of businesses installing walking tracks around the office for staff to take phone calls and get moving around the track!Constantly maintaining correct posture throughout the whole day is usually impractical for most people and it doesn’t address the problem of being stationary. It’s better to sit or stand with a good posture than not, but it’s important to move around regularly. Not moving may change the effects on your tissues which can cause discomfort and even pain.

SIT/STAND DESKS MAY HELP LOWER BACK PAIN In one study, lower back pain was significantly reduced by a small amount with reductions inworkplace sitting time [2]. A systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that sit-stand desks may help with low back discomfort [3]. This may not sound like much, but this is the highest level of research and to me, this is quite significant. It shows that alternating position alone may help with low back discomfort. There are obviously other things that you can do. Make sure you check out Dr Adam Pitt’s (Osteopath/Director) 40 sec break routine (insert link to youtube video) Treadmill desks have been shown to be the better option for physiological improvements [4].However, they have been linked for decreased productivity [4] and if you imagine being in an office with 20 relatively noisy treadmill desks you can see why. However, walking on the spot at a sit/stand desk could be a good substitute with potentially similar results. So as cool as they might be, treadmill desks are not necessarily practical. If you’re worried about the cost of standing desks or your employer won’t agree to giving you one, there is a cheaper option. Standing desk converters are available, which go on your regular desk and take your monitor and keyboard. They are designed to be adjusted between a sitting and standing height. I know what you’re thinking… BUT I’M WORRIED ABOUT THE COST! MY BOSS WON’T GO FOR IT! And do you know what, review of studies concluded that there was no decrease in productivity when changing from a seated desk to a sit/stand desk [5]. 3 of the studies reviewed demonstrated INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY.

HOW TO TRANSITION TO A SIT/STAND DESK

The aim is to gradually progress to approximately 50-50 sitting/standing I.e. in an 8 hr shift,approximately 4 hours sitting 4 hours standing. Give yourself at least few weeks to get to this point.

DON’T STAND ALL DAY!


Find out what intervals work for you: try to avoid getting to the stage of feeling uncomfortable. Alternate your stance and stretch about!If you’re stuck with a seated workstation for various reasons such as being at multiple workstations and not your own, try these following tips for creating a work environment that supports good health and posture.

1. Set a timer and get up every 30 minutes. Take a walking meeting, stand or exercise during a conference call, or hand-deliver a message when you would normally email it.

2. Ensure your workstation supports well-aligned posture: computer monitor head on and eye level and a good distance, neck not side-bent or rotated, elbows at 0 degrees with forearms parallel to the floor, sitting with good posture with a chair that is close enough to the table and has lumbar support

.3. Every so often around the 20-minute mark, give your eyes a minute’s break by focusing on something at least 10 metres away.

4. Do stretches in your seat! SO WHAT NOW?

Start by setting a timer every 30 mins to do some stretches and march on the spot.

I’d recommend Dr Adam Pitt’s (Osteopath) 40 second break routine. Look at your options for sit/stand desks and start the conversation with your employer.

Why not even send them the link to this blog?

Most of all, look after yourself and treat your body like it’s the only one you’ve got Written by Dr Alex Richardson (Osteopath) [1]Wilmot, E.G., Edwardson, C.L., Achana, F.A. et al. Diabetologia 2012 55: 2895. Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis[2]: Charlotte L. Brakenridge et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Sep; 15(9): 1975.Published online 2018 Sep 10. Evaluating Short-Term Musculoskeletal Pain Changes in Desk-Based Workers Receiving a Workplace Sitting-ReductionIntervention[3]: Agarwal et al. Ergonomics 2018 Apr; 61(4):538-552 Sit-stand workstations and impact on low back discomfort: a systematic review and meta-analysis[4]: MacEwen BT, MacDonald DJ, Burr JF. Prev Med. 2015 Jan; 70:50-8. 2014 Nov 28. A systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace.[5]: Karakolis T et al. Appl Ergon. 2014 May;45(3):799-806. Epub 2013 Oct 21. The impact of sit-stand office workstations on worker discomfort and productivity: a review

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