We all know a ‘couch potato’ or two – but we just came across a post with the term ‘office potatoes’ to describe workers who sit for hours on end, whose chair has become an appendage rather than just a piece of furniture. The statistics in the post were alarming: recent studies have found that people who sit for eight hours or more a day are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, chronic back problems, obesity, and heart disease.
Prolonged sitting inflicts undue pressure on the discs in the spine. When you stand, your body’s weight is spread through the hips, knees and ankles – a much more balanced state, especially when you consider how our human bodies are designed for standing and moving, rather than hunching and compressing!
If you are ‘at risk’ for Office Potato Syndrome, it’s important to be aware that periods of standing throughout the day can improve circulation, muscle tone and vitality. According to the post, standing also burns extra calories, and may also promote greater productivity, focus, and give you new ideas, as it increases blood flow to the brain and thus improves concentration.
Firstly, take frequent breaks from sitting: for each hour you sit, get up and move around for at least 5-10 minutes.
Secondly, spend some time working on a raised surface: start by placing boxes or large books under your present workstation for a temporary solution that you can experiment with. There is a range of height-adjustable desking available for a longer-term solution – and there’s even a treadmill desk!
With height adjustable desks, it’s easy to change your posture quickly from sitting to standing or back again, as soon as you feel any discomfort. Ultimately, a conventional desk simply can’t accommodate the variety of postures necessary for healthy, productive work throughout the day.
If you think you may be an Office Potato – don’t wait to become one of the health statistics! Check out http://juststand.org for more information, or come see us at Healthy Home Office for some quick and easy ideas for working in a healthier way.