Sedentary office workers of the world, stand up!

Miss Main Honour, a mathematics major at Auburn University, was the first woman to be accepted into Redstone Arsenal's (RSA's) Cooperative Training Program for college students majoring in science and engineering. The other 96 students in the program at that time were men.

Heart disease, circulation problems and even cancer can result from too much sedentary office work. (Photo Credit: Public Domain/U.S. Army/Wikipedia)

Having a healthy body contributes to having a healthy mind. But sedentary office workers who spend eight hours or more per day at a desk staring at a computer screen aren’t doing themselves any favors, writes Quite to the contrary, the lack of movement can lead to an early death. Even workers who are otherwise physically fit are not immune, and the risk for women is even greater.

Sedentary workers often aren’t able to provide maximum productivity

According to a recent American Cancer Society study, sedentary workers who sat six hours or more per day were more prone to dying at a younger age than those with more active jobs that afforded them the opportunity to stand and move around frequently. Study leader Alpa Patel found that the benefits of not sitting all day long were “clear-cut.” Added benefits to additional activity include greater concentration and productivity, concepts from which both employees and employers benefit.

Stand up for an adjustable desk

Adjustable desks that allow office workers to alternate between standing and sitting positions are advised by the American Cancer Society study. The downside to this is that adjustable desks are more expensive. The furniture company KI charges $1,000 or more for such office furniture, and according to company vice president Jonathan Webb, sales have dropped 10 to 15 percent during the recession. Webb continues to argue that the benefits outweigh the high cost.

“We have to educate our clients on what the payback is on purchasing a height-adjustable vs. a stagnant table,” he said. “They can translate into higher employee retention and increased productivity, and in this economy employers are looking to do more with less.”

Suggestions for sedentary office workers

Patel makes a number of suggestions for those sedentary office workers whose employers will not afford them the benefits of adjustable desks. Sitting on a exercise ball rather than a chair requires a worker to use additional muscles to maintain balance. Communication that would normally be handled through e-mail or instant message could be handled in person. Similarly, Patel advises those workers with private offices to use a speaker phone whenever possible. Remember to stand up every hour or so. Stretch your legs and move around. Do simple stretches, twists and even squats if space is available.


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