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  • Lydia Calderon

Stand up: Not a comedy act but a way of life

According to a study from the University of Iowa, standing instead of sitting is the best way to live your life.

Lucas Carr, an assistant professor from the University of Iowa, said that heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are all risks that workers must deal with when sitting for more than eight hours a day.

How will people begin to fix this problem of sitting? Sit-stand desks are the answer. The study says sit-stand desks that allowed employees to stand up for a total of 60 minutes per day received health benefits from it. The study also found that employees burn 87 more calories a day and walked more than six minutes at work versus those who sat.

“There are health benefits to standing versus sitting,” associate professor of Health and Human Performance Nancy Van Hoozier said. “It will raise the metabolic rate of an individual and engage the postural muscles of the body. We are built to move. Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway both used standing desks.”

Why is standing such a big deal in the work environment?

“The idea here is to redesign the work environment, because most of us will be working for anywhere between 20 and 30 years,” Carr said. “So if somebody is sitting for 40 hours a week and for 30 years, you can imagine how those things would build up.”

Even in workplaces with no sit-stand desks, doctors still recommend that workers take a break from sitting at their desks at least once every hour. Taking this break would result in better flow of blood pressure, which in return can lead to less obesity.

Priority Health, a health company from Grand Rapids, is hoping to take on the new trend. According to reports, all 1,200 employees will have sit-stand desks in the next two years. Their goal as a company is to keep from employees sitting all day and gaining obesity and back problems.

The new information is not only impacting Grand Rapids, but the country. Jonathan Webb, vice president of business markets for furniture manufacturer KI in Green Bay said, “The workplace has become an incubator for sedentary behavior. If you work out for 45 minutes a morning, go to the office and sit for six to eight hours, you have negated that work out.”

NeoCon, which stands for National Exposition of Office and Contract Furniture Industry, is an office design trade show that has been showcasing many sit-stand desks for employers and future buyers to view. According to KI, their sales of their sit-stand desks have grown dramatically – 50 percent in the past five years. Meanwhile, their normal desks have not been as successful.

Another CEO of a furniture manufacturer, Kevin Kuske of izzy+ said, “It’s not just about health and wellness, but people learn better when they move.”

Employees and employers are jumping on the bandwagon to health and happiness through these desks. They are available to purchase at online retailers and your local office furniture store.

As Carr put it, “The next time your boss asks why you’re not sitting at your desk? Sorry, doctor’s orders.”

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