Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Literally Standing Up at Work

By:      Mathew Simonton

With all the health and wellness trends out there, one that tends to be overlooked by many is simply standing. In addition the exercise ball, standing desks are peaking their way into the home and office. Why? The health benefits are immense.
Below is a snippet from a New York Times article expanding on the particulars of the body while sitting:
“Electrical activity in the muscles drops — ‘the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse,’ … — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides — for ‘vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream,’ … — plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.”
A study by the American Cancer Society found that men who sat six or more hours a day had a 20% higher death rate than men who sat three or less hours a day. And for women? A 40% higher death rate.
There are a number of actions you can take a business leader to encourage a healthier workforce. Below are some suggestions by David Clemens of the HR Café.
  • Encourage employees to get up and walk around instead of always responding via email
  • Encourage employees to stand during a phone call or webinar
  • Encourage employees to stand during a meeting
  • Invest in adjustable or standing desks (note: transforming your desk into a standing desk can also be an easy and affordable DIY activity.)
Image courtesy of user Victor 1558 via Flickr Creative Commons.

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