How long should you stand (or sit) at your work station?
A sedentary lifestyle is a major health concern affecting employees working in offices. Flexible workstations, wearable technology and some studies even show that increased physical activity is the cure for the side-effects that come along with a work life that involves a lot of sitting--at the desk, during commute and at home.
The key challenge is incorporating the physical activity into the hectic work schedule for most employees. However, an employee who stands while working at the desk is only likely to burn just a few more calories than the one is sitting, about 9 calories more an hour, according to a recent study “The Energy Cost of Sitting versus Standing Naturally in Man,” published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
The study looked at the resting metabolic rate of 46 men and women while they were lying down, standing up and sitting down. The calories they burnt during each of these activities were measured. If a person were to stand at work as their only form of physical activity of the day, they would have to stand for more than 20 hours just to shed the calories put on by a cup of coffee!
Standing at your desk does have some benefits when it comes to focusing on the work at hand. Standing creates a sense of urgency while sitting is associated with relaxation. However, if HR leaders are looking at ways to include wellness programs as a part of the culture, perhaps encouraging employees to engage in some form of group physical activity such as playing a team sport or taking on a monthly fitness challenge would help in increasing the employees’ productivity levels as well.
Another important aspect of combating the health challenges posed by 70 percent of the day spent in sitting behind a desk, is eating right. Stocking up on healthy snacks both at work and at home is one small step in a healthy direction. Moreover, taking productive breaks such as going for a five-minute walk would help burn more calories and also refresh the brain to come back to work reenergized.