To Stand or Not To Stand

We’ve all heard it before. The health benefits of avoiding being sedentary in the workplace. There are so many benefits to employee heath and productivity when they are able to simply move from a seated position to standing and vice versa. There have been studies after studies done over the past few years.

It may come as a surprise to you that sitting for prolonged periods of time – what some people call a “silent killer”, or “sitting disease”- could be responsible for 300,000 deaths annually in the United States.

In July 2010, the American Journal of Epidemiology examined the amount of time 123,000 participants spent sitting along with their physical levels of activity. The results were pretty disturbing. Women (I’m not sure why it is specific to women) who were inactive and sat more than 6 hours per day had a 94% higher risk of dying during the study period than those who were physically active and sat less than 3 hours per day. This study and others link prolonged sitting to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and shorter lifespan.

Think about how many hours per day you sit. Take into account commuting, watching TV, armchair sports, and playing video games, sitting at your computer at work or home, sitting in meetings at work and so on. It adds up quick.

There are many things we can do to help off-set this effect of sedentary static load. Physical activities such as taking a walk at lunch or going to the gym are just a couple. Adopting a height adjustable table to your workstation can offer a huge benefit to non-exercise activity and mitigate the harmful effects of sitting.

One of the arguments I heard for a long time is that it was just too expensive for companies to invest in height adjustable tables. Maybe they felt like the cost of the product was too high to off-set the cost of unhealthy employee’s.  According to Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic Endocrinologist who specializes in the study of energy expenditure, 88 million people are sedentary in the United States. If those people became even moderately active yearly medical costs could be reduced by over $76 billion. Add to that the expected gains in productivity the argument against sitting is compelling.

Here’s the good news; the cost of height adjustable tables has reduced significantly in recent years and we have seen corporations adopting sit/stand desks as a standard product more and more.

While the costs of height adjustable desks have been reduced the quality and function has increased.  We now have quieter, more reliable motors, bases with expandable bars to allow for different size worksurfaces, pre-set functions, even casters.

It isn’t unheard of to be able to purchase a 34x60 electric sit/stand desk for under $1,000.00 today. So what are you waiting for?  Let’s promote a healthy lifestyle and atmosphere at work by taking care of our most valuable assets and standardize on height adjustable desks. You will find your employees will be more productive, healthier and happier.

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