By Heather M. Sittler, health strategist, Hylant
It’s the popular trend these days to say that sitting is killing us. Many would think the solution is simply standing rather than sitting. In fact, a growing trend of using standing desks in the workplace would seem to support this assumption. However, the problem really isn’t as simple as trading standing for sitting.
Alan Hedge, who directs the human factors and ergonomics research and teaching programs at Cornell University, stated in a TIME article that switching to a standup desk can be risky, especially if it’s done incorrectly.
If sit/stand desks are not the solution and standing all day is just as dangerous, what do we do? The common thread among the research indicates that the danger is in not moving. Individuals need to vary their workday to include periods of movement. It can be as simple as setting a reminder to get up and stretch every 20 minutes or taking a short walk once an hour.
Consider these options for adding some movement into your workday:
- The small things add up. Encourage employees to choose a printer that’s farther away. Invite participants to stand for a meeting. Choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a bit further away from the building each day. Take a few more trips up and down the stairs to turn an email exchange into a face-to-face discussion.
- Measure it. Purchase a pedometer for employees. Invite them to figure out what their normal step count is and find ways to exceed that number.
- Set a reminder. If most of your employees work at computers, consider software that will prompt the individual to take a break.
- Talk about it. Begin to set the expectation from management that varied movement throughout the workday should be the norm. Make sure that supervisors and other mid-level leadership are fully on board.