There has been more and more research coming out on the health dangers of sitting too much during the work day and the benefits of standing and walking while you work. This recent article does a great job summarizing the newest research studies, but more importantly it reports that medical experts and researchers are starting to devise formulas for how long we should be sitting at work to avoid adverse effects.
According to ergonomics Alan Hedge, the right formula for sitting, standing, and moving is 20/8/2: sit for twenty minutes, stand for 8 minutes and the move around for two minutes. It is easier to do if you have a standing desk or have hacked a desk like my colleague Chris Messina
However, be careful about over doing it with the standing. Some experts warn that too much standing can also create health problems. And, if you think you can avoid the health dangers of sitting for prolonged periods because you exercise at the gym every morning, think again. According to research, regular exercise does not counter act being sedentary at work.
There are also other research studies that look at what motivates people to change their behavior in the workplace. In other words, what are the interventions that are effective to get you off your butt and move around during the work day? They tested 38 interventions and what doesn’t work is framing it as physical activity.
Here’s what worked:
- Educating people about the benefits of less sitting time
- Restructuring office environments such as adding adjustable or standing desks
- Setting goals for less sitting and more moving and standing
- Monitoring sitting or walking time
- Setting up alerts or cues for when people need to stand
So, the key is to mix you your standing, sitting, and moving during your work day. Consider getting a standing desk and to set goals, measure, and make it a habit. How can these practices become part of your nonprofit’s work culture?
There are lots of ways to hack an inexpensive standing desk, personally I use this inexpensive adjustable laptop stand. Exercise or moving around is one of the basic pillars of good health, sleep is another. So, you could combine the two with a nap desk.
We all know the immediate benefits of walking and standing at work in terms of improving our health. But walking can also reduce healthcare costs, provide equal transportation access for everyone, clean the environment, improve the economic viability of our downtowns, and more. However, safe, walkable environments do not just happen they are made by hard work and coordinated commitment. That’s what will be discussed next month at the National Walking Summit. So, standing and walking work can have system impact!
Has your nonprofit busted the culture of sitting in the workplace? How? What worked?