Category Archives: Research News

Movement Matters: On this we can all agree!

Movement Matters

Do contradictory research study results ever frustrate you? First we hear, for example, that butter is bad for us and then, just a few years later, people are adding it to their coffee for its supposed health benefits. It can be confusing to know what’s really true in a world where “facts” are continually changing. We’d like to point out a notable exception. A large and growing number of credible research projects are all reaching the same indisputable conclusion: sitting all day is bad for human health.

Now you can read the research in one, easy to digest place. Our new, free white paper, “Why Movement Matters,” by Carrie Schmitz, AOEAS, CHC, Ergotron’s Sr. Manager of Human Factors and Ergonomic Research, summarizes the latest research findings and makes a compelling case for investment in movement-friendly environments. Best of all, the research finds direct and strong correlations between even minor changes in sitting behavior and health benefits.

DOWNLOAD TODAY >

 

Do Fitness Apps Give a False Sense of Health? 

With the rise of mHealth apps, fitness trackers and even “toning” attire, consumers are now armed with an unlimited number of resources to help them meet their health and fitness goals. Ergotron’s JustStand® Index 2016 recently revealed over 50 percent of people believe that wearable devices or mobiles apps for monitoring nutrition/activity are the devices that offer the greatest health benefits. But are these devices truly a solution to reversing the effects of sedentary behavior or are they simply Band-Aids providing quick fixes to a bigger issue?

According to the survey results, 62 percent of employees indicated that they get the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise per week, which a wearable device or mobile app can track and confirm for them. However, studies have found that simply logging this suggested level of activity does not counteract the harmful effects of prolonged sitting.

Experts “Weigh-In”

As stated by Dr. James Levine, “The nature of the human body was to be active and moving all day. The body was never designed to be crammed into a chair where all of these cellular mechanisms get switched off. Obviously we’re supposed to rest from time to time. But that rest is supposed to break up the activity. It’s not supposed to be the way of life.”

Ergotron’s Manager of Ergonomic Research Carrie Schmitz recommends increasing low intensity, ‘non-exercise’ activities, such as walking or standing, which can play a critical role in one’s overall metabolic rate. In fact, these low-intensity activities account for more daily energy expenditure than a moderate-to-high intensity activity, such as running.

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Making Simple Lifestyle Changes 

There is no denying that wearable devices and fitness apps can be helpful tools in maintaining a healthy lifestyle outside the office, but what about during work hours?

Ergotron’s survey results suggest that while today’s workforce may be more focused on personal health and wellness than we’ve seen previously, people may be missing the mark in terms of understanding the importance of incorporating regular movement throughout the day and avoiding sedentary behavior.

One way to start may be in targeting the areas of your work day that continue to be the most sedentary—your commute to and from work, time spent at your desk, and time spent in meetings or on conference calls. These are the areas that you can directly impact and increase your overall fitness and wellbeing.

Ways to stand or move more may be a simple as choosing to stand on the bus instead of sit on the way to work, or stand periodically during a conference call or in a meeting. Other simple workstyle changes might include a standing desk at work or a wall mount in a home office—small changes that can have a monumental impact on one’s health.

For more information on the implications of a sedentary lifestyle and the ways to combat the implied health effects, please download the full JustStand Index at www.juststand.org/JSindex.

 

Getting Productivity Up & Moving: The 2016 JustStand Index

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At Ergotron, scientific and evidence-based research and data is the foundation of product development. As an extension of this commitment, Ergotron commissioned a survey of 1,000 full-time employees in the U.S. as part of the 2016 JustStand® Index, to uncover how sedentary lifestyles are impacting the productivity, engagement and well-being of employees. The report analyzes how sitting impacts different aspects of the workplace – here are the key findings:

  • Productivity: Although cyberloafing, a term used to describe browsing the internet and social media, has gotten a lot of attention for its impact on productivity, it turns out that restless employees are 61 percent more likely to get up and move around than browse the internet or social media (39 percent). While taking regular breaks for movement is important, the data suggests that employees are being driven away from their desks to alleviate restlessness and physical discomfort from prolonged sitting.
  • Office culture: Over 60 percent of employees dislike or even hate sitting, yet nearly 70 percent do it all day, every day. A happy, healthy employee is more likely to be a productive and engaged employee — and one that stays with your company — yet the majority of our office spaces aren’t designed with that in mind.
  • Employee health: With the influx of wearable technology people are more health-conscious than ever before, but may have been lulled into a false sense of fitness and health. Sixty-two percent of employees indicated that they get the recommended 2.5 hours a week of exercise, which is perhaps why less than half of the office workers surveyed think they are personally at risk for sitting disease. However, sitting too much at work, despite physical activity undertaken throughout the week, is detrimental to mind and body.
  • Wellness programs: Despite health and wellness programs in corporations being a stated priority, only 23 percent of employees are aware of a wellness program at their company and of that population, only 35 percent of these programs offer alternative workstation as a benefit option to help avoid prolonged sitting.

Since launching the first JustStand Index in 2013, more attention has been given to the dangerous metabolic effects of sedentary lifestyles, or sitting disease as it is less commonly known. Although awareness is for sitting disease has doubled (from 7 to 15 percent), it has yet to achieve widespread understanding and sitting is still the most common posture in the workplace.

The landscape of work has changed drastically – with a new generation of workers and innovations in technology – but, for the most part, employees still remain in office chairs. And many of them aren’t happy about it. And while 86 percent of people believe that prolonged sitting increases the risk of early mortality, only 48 percent of people believe they are personally at risk. This demonstrates the need for further education and conversation throughout the business community.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be exploring these key findings in more detail on the JustStand MoveMore blog. In the meantime, visit www.juststand.org/jsindex to download the full eBook.

 

Stand @ Work Study results a must read

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© 2013 National Heart Foundation of Australia

The National Heart Foundation of Australia, in collaboration with the Prevention Research Collaboration (PRC) of the University of Sydney, conducted a study, titled Stand@Work, to determine whether providing sit-stand workstations changes sitting time in desk-based office workers. Here are the results of the study (PDF).

HeartPosterThe study acknowledges the growing body of evidence that indicates high levels of sedentary behavior, and sitting in particular, are emerging risk factors for chronic disease.

Employees who were in the trial reduced sitting time by almost 20% during work hours and increased standing time by about an hour through use of Ergotron’s WorkFit® Sit-stand workstations.

This document captures the study outcomes and is a valuable resource for managers or businesses seeking ways to protect and foster employee health and well-being. It also provides great ideas for reducing sitting time in the workplace outside of using sit-stand workstations.

The Heart Foundation has added standing to their outreach effort. It makes us proud to see that their “Be an Up-Standing Citizen” poster features the outline of the WorkFit-S!

Taking a stand for heart health is a global message we can all support.

 

 

Stanford Study good news for back pain sufferers on the job

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Sit-stand desk users are 75% more likely to report pain-free days than those working at traditional seated [sit-only] desks.

This is just one of the encouraging findings in the study conducted by Stanford University, “Impact of a Sit-Stand Workstation on Chronic Low Back Pain Results of a Randomized Trial.” Published online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) by Grant T. Ognibene, BA, Wilson Torres, BS, Rie von Eyben, MS, and Kathleen C. Horst, MD, the research concludes that low back pain may be improved by the introduction of sit-stand workstations.

The research confirms what our anecdotal evidence has told us, that the ability to change positions from seated to standing frequently throughout the workday gives workers some measure of relief from certain low back pain issues.

Back pain continues to be a key issue in terms of employee health and safety as well as a drain on business productivity in absenteeism, presenteeism, and increased worker’s compensation rates. It is estimated that 31 million Americans are experiencing back pain1, and the prevalence of global back pain is estimated to be around 23%2. Not only do businesses feel the impact of people out of the office dealing with pain, but workers themselves suffer from the physical and emotional stress of not being able to work as they would like.

The real good news here? Participants began to experience an improvement approximately 15 days after the sit-stand computer workstation was installed. And associated benefits included increased concentration: 95% of participants reported significantly lower back and neck pain, noting the pain was significantly less likely to interfere with their ability to concentrate.

“Our sit-stand workstations allow seamless movement between sitting and standing positions, offering users ergonomic comfort in addition to many other health-related benefits,” said Pete Segar, Ergotron CEO. “We will continue to build on our WorkFit product line with products like the WorkFit-T and WorkFit-TL to improve the health and productivity of the world’s office workers.”

The study, conducted onsite at Stanford, used a combination of 46 Ergotron WorkFit-SWorkFit-A, and WorkFit-A Premium sit-stand workstations dependent on the worker’s desktop requirements.

This promising research is the first of what we hope many studies that explore some of the questions from this pilot: pain improvement happened slowly – would it continue to improve over a longer period? These folks already suffered from lower back pain – how part does adoption and use of sit-stand workstations play to prevent the onset of lower back pain? Would comprehensive ergo training in conjunction with SSW make for even greater improvement?

  1. Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.
  2. 2. Hoy D, Bain C, Williams G, et al  A systematic review of the global prevalence of low back pain. Arthritis Rheum 2012;64:2028.

It’s a sit-stand world

Around the halls of Ergotron, sit-stand continues to be a passionate discussion. Apparently we are not alone! The following is an excerpt of some recent sit-stand happenings around the world, led by people you’ll want to follow. Just kick back, stand for a moment, and read on. ISBNPA_June

JacMair_ISBNPAIt’s Day 3 of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, where organizers are sending a clear message about the importance of reducing sedentary time. An entire section of the auditorium at the Edinburgh International Conference Center has been designated “stand only” for the 1,200 people from 44 countries who are gathering to examine health issues concerning physical activity, nutrition and sedentary behavior.

Ergotron is exhibiting at the Conference and Satellite Meetings, highlighting the sit-stand solutions that are changing how the world works. “Patterns of Sustainability of Sit-Stand Workstation Use in A Typical Workplace” is a poster Ergotron research manager, Carrie Schmitz presented along with Jacqueline Mair, from the Centre for Physical Activity and Health Research, Ulster University.

CheltFestAlso in the UK today, a lively presentation in Cheltenham Sci Festival, Sitting: The Lazy Killer, featuring Roger Highfield, Dr. Michael Mosley (pictured in tweet) and scientist John Buckley. They are discussed the parameters of a sit-stand lifestyle, and how to break up extended hours of sitting each day.

Next week, on 8 June, Peacock Bros. is hosting Dr. David Dunstan, from Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Dunstan will be presenting the latest research on the health hazards of prolonged sitting and what we can do about it. Baker IDI is holding its first annual On Your Feet Australia day 11 June; follow along on Twitter with the #quitthesit hashtag.

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The implications of research into sedentary behavior is significant for heart and diabetes prevention. The American Diabetes Association, which recommends people change sitting or standing postures every 90 minutes as an aspect of the Standards of Care, launched its first annual Get Fit Don’t Sit event in May, receiving tremendous national response from businesses, who took the Pledge and encouraged healthier workstyles for their employees.

Get Britain Standing, at the Active Working Summit in January, released news about a joint statement from researchers in sedentary behavior. The statement was published this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (abstract), and urges companies to adopt workplace and wellness practices that break up sedentary aspects of office culture. They recommend office workers spend at least two hours of their working day standing or moving, and gradually progress to four hours. This is the first statement of this kind from the broader research community. Get Britain Standing has also just launched a Get America Standing site, and is planning an On Your Feet America day in April 2016.

Have sit-stand news to share? Contact us at info@juststand.org or see relevant worldwide news daily at @juststandnews.

 

78% of Office Workers Sit Too Much

8-5_parkingSedentary behavior in the office continues to be a rising concern across urban centers on every continent and highlight an issue that many businesses may not be ready to face. Their workers not only don’t like sitting for so long, they also worry about the negative impact of that sitting.

According to a new On Your Feet Britain survey (conducted by Getbritainstanding.org and the British Heart Foundation (BHF), nearly two-thirds of the 2,000 office workers surveyed were worried sitting at work was having a negative impact on their health. This statistic correlates with results from Ergotron’s JustStand® Index in 2013 which indicated 74% believed sitting so much could lead to an earlier death.

According to Lisa Young, Project Manager for the BHF’s Health at Work Programme, “Too many of us are tied to our desks at work, which could be increasing our risk of developing cardiovascular disease.”

And not only that, research links sedentary behavior to risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, obesity and more. Dr. Frank Booth, of the University of Missouri has identified 26 health risks associated with sedentary behavior.

With viable sit-stand solutions available on the world market to address these concerns, it is perhaps time to ask yourself if your business is ready for a sit-stand workstyle?

A few things need to be in place to support the growing employee awareness of issues like “sitting disease” and their call for a healthier workplace. Not every company can be the Apples of the world, with the creative and adaptive work environments. Most businesses are stuck with rabbit warrens of modular cube construction, undefined budgets for more investment in ergonomics, and no way of knowing if a sit-stand environment would have a meaningful impact on productivity and healthcare costs.

Gavin Bradley, from Get Britain Standing, told the BBC News: “We need new and innovative ways of addressing the issue.”

Here are five ways for your company to get started:

  1. Design to accommodate sit-stand work environments. Rather than addressing it as an afterthought, bring it forward right at the beginning of a new build or rework. Even if you don’t adopt sit-stand from the start, you will have planned for it down the road. And keep in mind collaborative spaces as well as workstations or conference rooms. Integrating standing options throughout the company helps it become a habitual approach to business.
  2. Investigate your sit-stand options. Truly, there never was a better time for finding the right workstation to meet any employee need. Take time to find the workstations that fit your decor, technology requirements, and price range, then create a list of approved sit-stand desk options. The key is to have it in place when your employees coming knocking at your door for one.
  3. Better be prepared because your employees will come knocking. They’ll send you an email. They’ll bring in a doctor’s note. They make their own sit-stand station out of old toner cartridge boxes they find by the printer. Some percentage of your employee population has already heard the sit-stand message and is currently pondering what to do about it. Be ready for them. Here’s one employee’s feedback. Micah R. told us recently: “Just so you know, when I bought the work fit station I was the first person in an office of about 200 people to stand while working. I was worried that I would create problems by doing this, but what has happened has shocked me. Dozens of people have followed my lead and are now standing at work and every year now on my review I get positive feedback on the influence that I have had on my coworkers and my commitment to a healthy lifestyle.” 
  4. Help your hurting employees right away. Nothing sways productivity more than people who are hurting because of their chairs, unable to concentrate or who, all too often, are being whisked away to doctor’s appointments. Giving this population access to sit-stand computing will help them alleviate back strain by allowing frequent posture changes. Studies show it makes a difference. And many employees self-report a reduction in back pain, or a reduction in health related care, like chiropractic visits, when they integrate sit-stand into their work routines.
  5. Don’t neglect your healthy employees. Incorporate a three to five year strategy for sit-stand work environments into your wellness planning to safeguard healthy employees before they start to hurt. The costs associated with not addressing a worker’s emerging health issues can escalate quickly. Preemptive support to help healthy employees remain healthy has an impact on their productivity and your bottom line.

Where you take it from here will be truly exciting!

It’s not just sit; it’s not just stand. What is becoming very clear now? It’s sit and stand. This postural rotation back and forth is what is associated with the many positive health results we are seeing in existing and emerging research. This is good news for the global community coming to grips with the impact this sedentary behavior is having or will have on our lives.

Our last point could have been: Educate, educate, educate. But in reality, there are many great organizations doing that for you like Getbritainstanding.org, in conjunction with BHF, who are sponsoring the inaugural On Your Feet Britain Day today. A few other organizations with similar bents:

When 78% of your work force turns their eye on you regarding this issue, will you be ready?

 

Taking a Literal Stand against Childhood Obesity

As September, and National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, draws to a close, it’s important that we all take a moment to reflect on where we stand thus far in the campaign against childhood obesity, and if we’re doing all we can to win the fight.

One of the key aspects of this epidemic is actually right in front of our noses: our children’s schools. And while initiatives to improve lunch programs is an important component to this campaign, nutrition alone is not going to go the whole distance to improving children’s health. Increasing physical activity and reducing sitting time are just as crucial.

There’s been growing concern that children are defaulting into sedentary lifestyles (i.e. long hours spent in front of the television, computer and playing video games) – what we should also be considering a threat is the amount of time spent sitting in today’s classroom.

In total, children likely spend over 6 hours a day seated in school. A recent study in the United Kingdom revealed greater than 50% of the seven- and eight-year old children sampled were sedentary for greater than 6.4 hours/day – with sedentary behavior comprising greater than 65% of their waking hours.

Teachers and schools, in order to promote better health and academic performance, are taking a stand – quite literally – deploying Ergotron’s LearnFit™ Standing Desks in the classroom. These desks incorporate more natural movement throughout the day. Access to the desks can help children burn more calories during classroom instruction, especially when other active opportunities are disappearing with school budget cuts – child development research shows that movement and learning are integrally linked.

The facts about Why Classroom Movement Gets an A+:

  • The part of the brain that processes movement is the same part of the brain that processes learning.
  • Exercise boosts brain power.
  • Movement can be an effective cognitive strategy to strengthen learning, improve memory and retrieval and enhance learner motivation and morale.
  • Studies indicate that concentration is lost after the fourth lesson of the morning, but challenging the vestibular or balance system has a tremendous effect on brain activity, renewing the ability to concentrate.
  • Activities that stimulate inner-ear motion, like swinging, rolling and jumping significantly improve attention and reading.
  • Physical activity increases blood flow, and hence oxygen, to the brain; oxygen is essential for brain function.

The preliminary results have been overwhelmingly positive in discovering more about the effects of prolonged sitting – in school and at home – on children’s overall health and well-being (see Belle Terre Elementary the first school in the United States into their second season with a classroom fully-equipped with our LearnFit standing desks).

To learn more about how we can all encourage healthier movement for children in our schools and homes, visit: http://juststand.org/.

 

Is your chair killing you? Review of Get Up! by Dr. James Levine

Get UpWearing his trademark athletic shoes and a sober business suit, I’ve always thought of Dr. James Levine, brilliant, erstwhile Englishman, as the Mayo Clinic’s own regeneration of Dr. Who.

So when I read that this spry obesity expert characterized himself as an overweight child and fidgety, “mediocre” student, I confess to being shocked.

I was among the lucky few who got a pre-release copy of Levine’s newest book, “Get Up”. It’s the kind of read you will go back to again and again.

Further revelations about his early years include the fact that at the age of 11 “Fluffy”, as his classmates called him, was obsessed with the nocturnal activities of two pet snails and was a source of unrelenting frustration for at least one of his teachers. Life is fickle, but in Levine’s case, devotion to those snails − Joanne and Maurice to be precise − paid off nicely by setting him on a scholarly path which led to a medical degree specializing in Endocrinology and a PhD in Electrical Engineering.

While he shed the image of chubby school boy, Levine never outgrew his interest in movement. His insights into Non-exercise Thermogenesis Activity (NEAT)¹ NEAT has caused a revolution in the way we think about physical activity in general and sitting in particular, and he is the founding force behind the Obesity Solutions² program at the University of Arizona.


“Validated and sustainable school solutions exist for reversing lethal sitting in children. Insist on change.”


Levine holds nothing back in connecting obesity to sedentary behavior. According to him, “The goal of sitting is to give our bodies a break from standing, which is the way human anatomy and physiology is designed.”

Mind you, he points out early in his book that “There is nothing innately harmful about a chair unless you sit on it too much.” It’s just that in these modern times, “we sit for 13 hours a day, sleep for 8 and move for 3. Living all day on our bottoms wrecks our health.” Indeed, we have become painfully aware of what sedentary behavior is doing to our bodies, and the number of “captive” knowledge workers continues to rise: “The number of sedentary jobs has increase 83% since 1950.”

The first time I met Dr. Levine was about five years ago at Ergotron’s headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. He had come to demonstrate a digital device that he had developed to help people track their activity levels. At that time, Ergotron’s standing student desk, LearnFit™, was in the early stages of development and I was interested in knowing if the Mayo was involved in any research on sedentary behavior among children.

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Dr. Levine at the 3rd Annual JustStand Summit

From that first conversation evolved a collaborative relationship between Levine and Ergotron that continues to this day. After conducting a pilot study with children at the Nay Ah Shing elementary school in Onamia, Minnesota, Levine’s co-investigators are poised to begin a study using Ergotron mobile standing LearnFit desks in classrooms located in Florida and Arizona.

As Levine notes in the book, “Today a third of US youth are overweight or have obesity; that’s 23 million kids. Since 1980, obesity rates in children have tripled. Children are now developing adult diseases while in school: diabetes, fatty liver disease, hypertension and even cardiovascular disease…a teenager with obesity has an 80 percent chance of carrying the excess weight into adulthood.”

Increasingly, childhood development experts all over the world are acknowledging that traditional static classroom desks actually inhibit learning. So maybe it was to be expected that after spending the last 25 years in his non-exercise activity (NEAT) laboratory operating an anti-chair movement, and investigating “the harms sitting does to both body and mind.” Levine would get a call from the White House with a question: “If sitting is so bad for workers and NEAT active work has so many benefits for employee health and productivity, surely this must be the case for children.”

Anyone who knows Dr. Levine, or has read his former book, “Move A Little, Lose A Lot” can guess what happened next.

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He got busy soliciting the opinions of a hundred educators about the possibility of an active classroom. He reports, “It was clear that teachers were passionately seeking health solutions for their students.” But with funding shortfalls and state and federal test reporting making high demands on their time, there were no resources, time or know-how as to how to decrease chair time and encourage NEAT in the classroom.

Still, Levine recognized that another crucial perspective was needed; what would students themselves say about how a classroom should function? He sought out the answer and ultimately, the vision of a school-of-the-future designed for and by students with input from their instructors came true in Rochester, Minnesota, thanks in part to Levine’s knowledge and leadership.

From his early years tracking the progress of snails sliding across aquarium glass Dr. Levine has applied intellectual curiosity and boundless energy to the study of physical activity. He continues to “walk the talk” with community engagement activities, scientific investigations and strategic alliances that link thought-leaders from around the world. His work with NEAT has been a source of inspiration to us at Ergotron in the fight against sitting disease and I recommend his new book, Get Up! to everyone who is concerned about the quality of their lives along with the quantity of good years they have to come!

Dr. Levine was recently featured in ErgoExpo’s August Wednesday Webinar.  Visit here for the On-Demand session of the “Get Up – Your Life Might Be Depending On It” event or visit Juststand.org/getup for other resources from Dr. Levine’s book.

By Carrie Schmitz, Sr. Manager of Ergonomic & Wellness Research at Ergotron (@giveafig) CarrieSchmitz

 

 

 

 

 

¹ Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise.

² Based on a comprehensive partnership between Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University, ObesitySolutions is a global effort to build, test and share ideas that work for real people in the real world.



[Infographic] Hospital RX: Nurse Health & Patient Care

A few weeks ago, Ergotron shared the results of a survey in a report which explores healthcare technology and nurses. This Infographic, Hospital RX: Nurse Health & Patient Care, will give you a fresh look at the challenges of digital healthcare.

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You can find the report and the Infographic anytime at Healthcare.ergotron.com.

Over the next few weeks, we intend to break down each section of the Infographic here. Stay tuned and let us know what you think!