Working in an office means dealing with a number of health risks related to factors like the hygiene levels of the workplace to the type of coworkers you are surrounded by. But let’s face it, the sedentary lifestyle takes the cake for the most obvious downside.
For most workers, a majority of each day is spent sitting on a chair in front of a computer. Clearly, this does not sound like the best way to treat your body in the long run. But what is the solution?
Perhaps, one can remove one of the elements from that harmful equation — how about the chair?
The likes of Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo Da Vinci were said to work while standing upright, so they may have endorsed the trend of standing desks today. Many companies have begun including standing desks as a part of their wellness programs to protect the health of their employees.
While the concept does sound healthier than slumping in a chair for hours, the science behind it is rather weak, according to a new CNN report published on Oct. 3. The report looked at various studies from recent years to understand just how beneficial a standing desk is
Findings from a 2016 meta-analysis noted very little proven benefit, especially given that most studies are poorly designed and do not look at the long-term effects of using such desks.
And if you hoped they would serve as an extended workout at the very least, another study conducted at Harvard has some bad news. Turns out, standing could only burn around eight calories more than sitting on an hourly basis. “In other words, use of a standing desk for three hours burns an extra 24 calories,” the authors wrote, “about the same number of calories in a carrot.”
This brings us back to square one, trying to figure out what people can do to effectively tackle the sedentary office routine. According to experts, the key is to never stay in one position for a prolonged period
“Make sure you stand up every hour for one to five minutes,” said Sergio Pedemonte, a fitness instructor and certified trainer based in Toronto, Canada. And while you sit down, he recommends a few small changes to make a big difference.
“When sitting back down, make sure you’re not leaning your neck forward and that your shoulder blades are retracted so that your back muscles aren’t rounding. These simple things will assist in getting your spine to be better aligned for improved posture,” he said.
You can also try performing desk exercises — or deskercises — to work out specific muscles in your body. Importantly, make sure you get enough exercise outside the workplace. Merely taking the stairs instead of the elevator can count toward the 30 minutes of physical activity you need every day.