The Evidence

How Can Using a Standing Desk Affect Your Productivity

This article is re-posted from a Sedentary Behaviour Research Network blog post on 3rd July 2019. Recently, research into the topic of excessive sitting, or “sedentary behaviour”, has been making headlines. The risk for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, that comes with high levels of sitting is becoming more evident (1). Office workers represent a population that spend a significant amount of time in sedentary pursuits as a consequence of their occupation (2). As more research is being published on the topic, many workplaces are seeking non-sedentary alternatives and solutions to the traditional office environment to keep their employees as healthy and productive as possible. One such solution has been the implementation of activity-permissive workstations. Activity-permissive, or alternative, workstations replace a worker’s traditional desk and are broadly categorized into either standing desks or dynamic workstations. Standing desks allow for a worker to stand while performing a task (e.g., typing, clerical work), and can be installed as additions to an existing workstation, or as height-adjustable replacement units (see Figure 1). Dynamic workstations are designed to allow for activity or movement while working, and include a variety of alternative workstations, such as: treadmill desks, cycling desks, and dynamic sitting desks…

“Sit less—move more and more often”: all physical activity is beneficial for longevity

This article was originally published in the BMJ Opinion on 21st August 2019. New research shows that any level of movement decreases risk of premature death, so get moving say Ulf Ekelund and Thomas Yates It is well established that physical activity of a moderate or vigorous intensity (such as brisk walking) is good for your health. More recently, it has also been shown that people in contemporary societies are spending the majority of their day sitting, and that this prolonged sitting is also linked to an increased risk for many chronic diseases and premature death. Current physical activity recommendations, including those recently updated for the US, suggest that at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity is needed to keep healthy and that prolonged sitting should be avoided. However, how much sitting is too much? This is not specified and is widely debated. In addition, are levels of physical activity below those recommended still beneficial for health and does light intensity physical activity still count? Answering these questions have huge relevance for health promotion. We performed a study to address these questions. Our results suggest strong associations between total physical activity and the risk of dying.…

Why Some Employers Are Paying Their Employees to Exercise

This article written by Katie MacAskill was originally published on 31 July 2019 on The Sedentary Behaviour Research Network (SBRN) website. Exercising has been proven over and over again to benefit physical and mental health. In the context of the workplace, countless researchers have seen improvements in employee time management, productivity, focus, personability and more from exercise interventions. As part of their “Power of the Hour” series, a BBC article was published earlier this year on exercise breaks during the workday. The article references a variety of professionals, employers and employees to discuss the values of exercise breaks, noting that some offices even pay their employees to exercise. In recent years, an increasing number of offices are finding and setting up headquarters with a gym or workout studio available in the building. Employees in such offices who make use of these facilities are more productive and tend to leave the office more satisfied with their performance at the end of the day; not to mention the regular benefits that physical activity has on health including immediate cognitive boosts. Setting up big tables and cafes as work spaces in view of treadmills/ellipticals or gym spaces is a new idea companies are…

An Exercise Regimen Everyone Can Squeeze In

The following article was written by Emmanuel Stamatakis and published in The Conversation on the 21st February 2019. Have you recently carried heavy shopping bags up a few flights of stairs? Or run the last 100 metres to the station to catch your train? If you have, you may have unknowingly been doing a style of exercise called high-intensity incidental physical activity. Our paper, published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, shows this type of regular, incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing is likely to produce health benefits, even if you do it in 30-second bursts, spread over the day. In fact, incorporating more high intensity activity into our daily routines – whether that’s by vacuuming the carpet with vigour or walking uphill to buy your lunch – could be the key to helping all of us get some high quality exercise each day. And that includes people who are overweight and unfit. What is high intensity exercise? Until recently, most health authorities prescribed activity lasting for at least ten continuous minutes, although there was no credible scientific evidence behind this. This recommendation was recently refuted by the 2018 US Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Report. The new…

How Age and Prolonged Sitting Can Effect Spine Stiffness, Postures and Discomfort

Recent research by Gruevski K and Callaghan J, and published in Ergonomics on 19th April 2019, looked at the effect of age and sex on passive spine stiffness, postures and discomfort in response to seated work. They noted that understanding age-specific postures and pain development patterns during sitting exposures are particularly relevant given the ageing working population in industrialised nations. Participants were in their Late 20s to early 30s or early 60’s were asked to sit continuously for 90 min while typing. Their results showed that older adults had higher passive spine stiffness and sat with less flexion during prolonged sitting. Discomfort was higher among older adults and occurred earlier in the simulation compared to younger participants, indicating that interventions, such as walking breaks may need to be implemented earlier during sitting for aged workers. Click here to read the full article

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