How much time do you spend at your desk every day? Is it eight hours, 12 hours, or more? Believe it or not, prolonged sitting can kill you.
According to health experts, sitting can be more dangerous than smoking. This habit has been linked to a high risk of heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance, and colon cancer. Furthermore, it affects your posture and damages your spine.
Luckily, there are a couple of things you can do to offset the harmful effects of sitting. Simple changes, such as switching to an active stool or swapping your chair for an exercise ball, can make all the difference.
The Dangers of Prolonged Sitting
The average American is sitting 13 hours a day. Over 36 percent of adults also sit another one or two hours watching TV. About 29 percent use their home computer for up to two hours a day.
These numbers show that we're spending most of our time sitting on a chair or couch. On top of that, we're exercising less than we should, which further affects our health and well-being.
Prolonged sitting not only makes you fat but also takes years off your life. In fact, sitting is the new smoking. Over time, it puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and premature death.
According to research, the risk of death is 37 percent higher in women who sit for more than six hours a day compared to those sitting for three hours or less. Sitting in front of the TV for just two hours a day doubles your risk of a heart attack.
Too much sitting also affects your blood sugar levels. In the long run, it may lead to diabetes and insulin resistance. On top of that, it slows your metabolism, contributing to weight gain.
The more time you spend sitting, the weaker your muscles become. A weak back, for instance, is more vulnerable to herniated discs, sciatica, and chronic pain. Weak glute muscles increase your risk of injury during exercise.
So what can you do about it? After all, you can't quit your job simply and spend your time working out or taking long walks. Office ergonomics is the answer.
What Is Office Ergonomics?
This concept encompasses all the factors that influence people's health, productivity, and well-being at work. Basically, it involves setting up your workstation in a way that's comfortable for your body. Its goal is to prevent injuries and ensure optimal performance.
Desk ergonomics, for instance, can ward off fatigue and boost mental focus. An active chair will make it easier to squeeze more exercise into your schedule. Over time, it may help prevent and relieve back, wrist, or neck pain.
Modern sitting solutions boast ergonomic features that support work productivity. These products and accessories can lower the risk of musculoskeletal problems.
Most on-the-job injuries are caused by poor posture, repetitive movements, and prolonged sitting. Thus, it makes sense to consider office ergonomics when setting up your workspace.
Let's take a look at the most popular modern seating solutions and their benefits!
Standing desks and active workstations are becoming more and more popular. These office accessories will change the way you work forever. You'll get fitter and more productive, feel energized, and focus better.
Active chairs are particularly beneficial as they allow you to move freely while using the computer or taking notes. These products come in all shapes and sizes, from balance stools to perching stools.
Some models roll into place, leading to enhanced balance and mobility. When you use this kind of chair, your core muscles work hard to maintain your balance. Additionally, balance stools force you to maintain good posture.
You can also choose an active stool that tilts and moves while you're sitting on it. This makes it easier to get your daily dose of exercise. Not to mention that it's fun!
Perching stools have emerged in response to the growing interest in sit/stand office working. When you perch, you naturally engage your core, hip, back, and leg muscles. Think of it as a position between standing and sitting.
These chairs boast a wide range of features, such as instant adjustment between low and high working positions. Some models have seats that look just like a saddle, which allows you to sit in a dynamic position.
A perching tool can help you stay active despite spending long hours at the desk. It also reduces stress on the legs and lower back by distributing your weight evenly. This leads to a stable seating experience and a comfortable work posture.
Stability/Exercise Ball Chairs
Another option is to use a stability or exercise ball instead of traditional office chairs. This kind of seating engages your core and takes the pressure off your back. It's a quick, convenient way to begin sitting actively.
Manufacturers are now offering exercise balls designed for office work. These models feature back and armrests, wheeled bases, and other accessories. If you cannot use one at work, simply add a dome-shaped inflatable cushion on your chair.
Get the Most Out of Your Active Stool
These are just a few of the many types of active seating available. Depending on your preferences, you can also opt for saddle seats, balance stools, sit/stand desks, or treadmill desks.
To reap the benefits of an active stool, maintain good posture at all times. Keep your head in-line with the torso and your hands parallel to the floor. Your back should be straight, not arched or bent.
Keep your knees at the same height as your hips. Your elbows should be bent between 90 and 120 degrees. The hands, wrists, and forearms should be in a straight line.
Ideally, alternate between sitting and standing. If possible, use an active stool that allows you to do that. Or take regular breaks every hour or so.
Looking for the best solutions to stay active at work? Check out our online store. From balance boards to active chairs and standing desks, we've got you covered!