Many well-meaning, and seemingly sensible solutions are difficult, if not impossible, to repeat and sustain over the long haul. Nowhere is this more relevant than with the issue of overcoming our sedentary lifestyle, particularly in our office environment. We need to think past the obvious. Unsustainable recommendations can hamper our personal well-being.
7 Examples of Unsustainable Recommendations:
- Get rid of the chair
- Go for a walk every hour
- Have walking meetings
- Use a Treadmill
- Sit on an Exercise Ball
- Get a Crank Sit-Stand Desk
- Add a Sit Stand Riser to your desk
Get Rid of the Chair
Instead of sitting, let’s all stand. Let's get a standing desk. With a little practice, we could be standing all day. But standing for extended periods is as bad as sitting for extended periods. We need to understand that "sitting" is not the problem. "Standing", likewise, is not the problem. "Extended periods" is the problem. All too often our tendency is to jump from one extreme to another. In this case, to counter "all day sitting", we quickly embrace "all day standing".
Go for a Walk Every Hour
Take a two-minute walk around the office every 40-60 minutes. “Walking is good! But what happens when we take that two-minute walk to break up our bouts of sitting at a computer? First of all, we stop (literally step away from) what we’re doing. We interrupt our concentration. Statistics tell us that, once there is a work interruption, it takes about 20 minutes to get back to the level of concentration that we were at prior to the disruption." - Excerpt from April 13 blog “Work Interruptions: Cost and Benefit”
On Demand Ergonomics Webinar - Sitting Disease and Ergonomics: Evidence & Best Practice Solutions
Have Walking Meetings
Instead of sitting in a conference room, walk while you are having your meeting. “Conference rooms and boardrooms exist so individuals can meet and share ideas verbally without negatively impacting others. So now we 2, 3 or 6 (or more) individuals are to walk throughout the office and bother everyone – or do we remove the conference table and do laps?” - Excerpt from April 27 blog “We're All Going to Die – Sit-Stand Desks or Not”
Use a Treadmill
Once the novelty wears off, you have a higher energy level and you’ll enjoy that good-tired feeling you get knowing you are burning calories while you’re working. Treadmills take up considerable space and are not easily moved out of the way, so the balance between standing/walking and sitting can be achieved easily. The constant sound of the motor (continuous power consumption) and the thump-thump of walking on the belt can be distracting to others. Writing and moussing accuracy are often difficult. Walking over ground allows you to push away from a stable force, whereas a treadmill does not. "Treadmills are not the same as walking over ground…The natural way of walking doesn't work on a treadmill belt. The lateral hip and glute muscles aren't used, so you need to use hip flexors instead. It may look the same, but the muscles used to do it have been changed." Katy Bowman, a biomechanics scientist and kinesiologist at the Restorative Exercise Institute in Ventura, Calif
Sit on an Exercise Ball
An exercise ball will strengthen your core muscles and help you to move while at your desk. An exercise ball is an exercise ball!!! Core muscles are strengthened because they are constantly involved in stabilizing your body due to the inherent instability of the exercise ball. In addition, there is no support to your arms (arm rests) and the lower back (lumbar support). Over an extended period, this can cause fatigue resulting in poor posture. Additionally, thighs are not evenly supported and knees are often bent to less than 90 degrees, contributing to restricted circulation and stress to the lower legs.
Get a Crank Sit-Stand Desk
Crank Sit-Stand Desks allow you to raise and lower your workstation, they do not consume electricity and they are cheaper than electric desks. At approximately 7 crank rotations per inch, can you imagine how many rotations it would take to raise the desk from a sitting to a standing position? Let’s do the math – from sitting at 27” desk height to standing at 43” desk height (recommended for a person 5’-10” tall with shoes on) equals 16” range of travel. At 7 rotations per inch that’s 7 x 16 = 112 rotations! Crank Sit Stand Desks are NOT designed to promote frequent adjustments throughout the work period. (If you are still determined to go the cheaper route, there are Crank Sit Stand desks that are upgradable, in the future, to electric.)
Add a Sit Stand Riser to Your Desk
Let's just put a Sit Stand Riser on top of our existing desk. Although Desktop Risers (DT Risers) allow you to sit and stand, there are issues to consider with both postures when using a DT Riser. In most cases, the desk you are presently sitting at is already too high for you. The tops of most desks are about 29" off the floor, which is about perfect for someone who is about 6'-0" to 6'-1" tall. If you are using a keyboard that sits on your desk for extended periods of time, you will likely experience neck, shoulder and lower back discomfort due to a tendency to scrunch up your shoulders to compensate.
Many desk top risers compound the problem by placing the keyboard tray on top of the desk. If the DT Riser has a keyboard tray that drops below the desk surface, it forces you to back away from your desk surface, leaving much of it inaccessible without twisting and reaching. The same applies when DT Risers are lifted, leaving the surface behind (below) as you raise them up.