Category Archives: Research News

[Webinar] ErgoExpo is hosting Dr. James Levine

Ergotron is sponsoring ErgoExpo’s August Wednesday Webinar: “Get Up: Your Life Might Depend Upon It” featuring James A. Levine, MD, Ph.D on August 13 at 1 pm CT/11 am PT. jameslevineIn today’s chair-based world, sitting has become the new smoking. Dr. Levine argues that the main problem is the way our modern world forces us to sit in nearly every aspect of our lives. Drawing on decades of research conducted in his Mayo Clinic lab, Dr. Levine will reveal the effects sitting has on our bodies and minds and more. Visit the ErgoExpo website to learn more, or…

RegisterNow

 

 

Tweet along with us using the hashtags #getup and #juststand the day of the event. There will be time to ask Dr. Levine questions at the end so be sure to take advantage of this rare opportunity!

Get Up! by Dr James A LevineDr. Levine’s book, “Get up! Your Chair Is Killing You & What You Can Do About It” is launching today, available everywhere books are sold. Visit http://juststand.org/getup to learn more.

Kids are taking a stand!

Despite technological advancements in the 21st classroom, many still have an old Leave it to Beaver view of children sitting neatly and quietly in a classroom every day. That notion is certainly antiquated in today’s day and age.

Kids are taking a stand, and you know what? They’re liking it. According to an article by Jenny Quill, contributing writer for Gazebonews.com“Standing Desks Are Upstanding New Trend at Lake Bluff, Lake Forest Schools,” students at Lake Bluff and Lake Forest elementary and middle schools in Illinois are learning about the pioneer days, even as they pioneer a new wave of school reform—using standing desks in classrooms as a means to introduce healthier movement into the long school day.

But that’s not all. Educators and district leaders are exploring active classrooms as a means to help increase focus and engagement in the classroom. According to Sue Barkhausen, Learning Resource Teacher at Everett Elementary School, “Current research supports the fact that students who use standing desks exhibit increased on-task behavior, alertness, and attentiveness during academic instruction.”

And the research is growing, here in the Midwest, and throughout the world. Does the act of standing more have implications on learning behavior, test scores, overall health of the students?

Carrie Schmitz, Ergonomic & Wellness Research Manager here at Ergotron, is working with global researchers to explore these questions in education to mirror the work previously done with standing in the workplace.

“We believe that health and achievement go hand-in-hand, and sit-stand solutions in the classroom help teach the whole child,” said Schmitz. “Creating opportunities for physical activity (what the CDC defines as “bodily movement that results in an expenditure of energy), within the classroom is an ideal setting to establish healthy habits in children that help to grow healthy adults.”

The introduction of sit-stand desks in education should also be welcome news to the percentage of student population requiring, as Jenny Quill states it, “an outlet for all that youthful, excess energy by allowing students to fidget freely, without disrupting others.”

And for those looking at pilots like that of Lake Bluff and Lake Forest elementary and middle schools, we say this, “Explore on!” We’ll be tracking your progress and sharing our findings in the months ahead.

Check back soon on our blog for more information on Ergotron’s sit-stand efforts in education.

(Infographic) Nursing Challenges and Changes

While nurses represent the majority of the U.S. healthcare workforce and are on the front lines of the industry’s radical transformation, they face many daily challenges. Nurses are responsible for quality care and patient satisfaction, yet they continue to spend more time interacting with technology and potentially less and less time actually providing care to patients, making it harder to provide outstanding care.

Nurses went into the profession because they wanted to take care of people. In this world of technology they are spending up to 35% of their day doing documentation. This infographic looks at ways that they can make that 35% more tolerable and reduce or combine documentation time with patient interaction (triangle of care).

Nursing Challenges and Changes_Infographic

We believe that if we can provide equipment to relieve physical burdens, solutions to technology problems and broadband telemedicine to alleviate the widespread nursing shortage, the healthcare industry and nurses in particular will be better positioned to do the job they are meant to be doing- providing quality care to patients.

Click here for a PDF of the Infographic and Creative Commons Attribution.

University of Chester pilot study utilizes Ergotron WorkFit Workstations

BBC_ChesterUThe pilot, “Cardiovascular and metabolic benefits of standing desk work”, conducting by researchers from the University of Chester, UK, was recently published in the BMJ Group’s (British Medical Journal) Occupational & Environmental Medicine Journal.

This Infographic highlights the results of a pilot study conducted by researchers as they evaluated changes in energy expenditure and metabolism among urban office workers when sitting versus standing throughout a work day.

According to researcher Dr. John Buckley, “Our study showed that when the participants were standing, their hearts rates were quite a lot higher – on average about 10 beats per minute higher and that makes a difference of about 0.7 of a calorie per minute. If you want to put that into activity levels then that would be the equivalent of running about 10 marathons a year – just by standing three or four hours in your day at work.” (Read the press release.)

The abstract on the BMJ concludes, “This is the first known ‘office-based’ study to provide CGM measures that add some of the needed mechanistic information to the existing evidence-base on why avoiding sedentary behaviour at work could lead to a reduced risk of cardiometabolic diseases.”

The results of the study (Ergotron WorkFit-D adjustable desks were deployed), were aired October 2013 in Episode 2 of the “Trust me I’m a Doctor” series on BBC Two Television in the UK.

 

Own your space, own your life

UoChesterStudyHow big is your office? Is it a tiny cubical or a part of an open plan benching system? Do you have a dedicated desk or plop into any available chair? Are you working from the comfort of home or are you alone in a corner office with a million-dollar view?

Whatever your office size or configuration, the area within your control is actually quite small.  Full-time workers spend forty percent of their waking hours sitting within a space no larger than their own height. For the average person, if they spread their arms out to their side at shoulder height, that measurement would be about five and a half feet in diameter from fingertip to fingertip (nails not included).

If those numbers seem bleak, don’t despair. There is a way to make the most of every inch and every minute while you are at work. Just stand–with a sit-stand workstation.

Sure, the media has been full of reports about standing desks, sedentary behavior, and how regular exercise alone isn’t enough to keep us healthy; but a lot of people, employees and employers alike, seem to be missing the point. Not because they’re immune to the health risks of prolonged siting, but because they are reacting to assumptions that side-track them from the truth that they have become accustomed to an unnatural way of working and indeed, living.

Some comment that standing at a desk is nothing new; some bristle at having “one more thing to worry about,” while others delight in pointing out that standing too long is just as bad as sitting too long.

Well, yes.

But what’s that got to do with you?

Given everything that you know about how it feels to be stuck at a computer for hours on end, why wouldn’t you consider standing? Especially in light of an episode called “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” which aired last Thursday, October 17 on BBC Two television in the UK. The study, conducted by Dr. John Buckley at the University of Chester was built upon previous findings indicating that:

  1. Prolonged sitting causes damage to joints which can lead to inflammation, stress and chronic pain
  2. Prolonged sitting can lead to cardio-metabolic disease
  3. Sit-stand computer workstations have been proven by scientific research to be both feasible and effective at reducing sitting time in a work setting.

The BBC/University of Chester researchers found that both heart rate and energy expenditure were raised significantly by standing work. They speculate that over the course of a year’s work, if workers stood for three to four hours per day doing desk work, it would equate to an additional energy expenditure of 25,000 kcal (about 7lbs or 3 kg of human fat)!

Subjective evaluations found that 8 of 10 workers were very willing to stand doing work as long as they could have breaks and do some work sitting.

No least of all, the UK researchers stated that the simple act of performing desk work, while standing for greater than three hours after lunch, helps to lower blood glucose more quickly back down to normal levels.

The research is in…standing at the computer is both feasible healthier than sitting on its own. And the ability to modify your work surface height, depending on how you feel and the type of task you are doing gives you “decision latitude,” which in itself, is known to improve attitude and consequently, productivity.

Your office may be large or small, near to home or far away. With a sit-stand workstation, it doesn’t matter because you’re in charge. Own your work space. Own your life!

CarrieSchmitzCarrie Schmitz
Ergonomics & Wellness Research Manager @ Ergotron
@giveafig

 

 

 

Additional reading:

Study uncovers the science underlying sit-stand workstation use

In February 2012, Ergotron participated in a scientific study with the University of Minnesota (School of Public Health) and the Mayo Clinic called, “The Effect of Sit-Stand Workstations on Physical Activity in Sedentary Office Workers: A Randomized Crossover Trial.”

pants01-lrWhen we first blogged about it in, “What’s the skinny on sit-stand desks? (Hint, it has to do with magic underwear),” the study was just about to begin. Emphasis was on increasing the understanding of how prolonged sitting can lead to such serious issues as diabetes, cancer and cardio-vascular disease.

“The primary purpose of our research is to establish whether the use of sit-stand desks to reduce sitting time was both feasible and effective,” said Carrie Schmitz, Sr. Manager Ergonomic Research at Ergotron and coauthor of the study.

So where does the “magic underwear” fit into that? Explains Schmitz, “Each participant wore a posture measurement device designed by Dr. James Levine and his researchers at the Mayo clinic. Essentially these were bike pants fitted with accelerometers and worn beneath normal clothing that told us whether participants were sitting, standing or walking.”

A formal announcement of the study occurred last May in Chicago when lead researcher Nirjhar Dutta presented the study findings at the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions.

Based on the data gathered in 2012, the feasibility aspect of the study hypothesis was proven because it was demonstrated that participants preferred their new sit-stand work style to their former seated-only habits.

According to Nirjhar Dutta, “The sit-stand workstations were highly popular with over 96% of the subjects enjoying their use.” (Update: The 96% figure turned out to be misleading, because at the 12 month follow-up in 2013, one subject who had initially passed on keeping the sit-stand workstation ultimately returned to it.)

Regarding efficacy, the second part of the study hypothesis, the data showed that the intervention (sit-stand workstations), “significantly increased activity during work hours.” In short, the study was a success and will take its place as an important informer of future, larger studies, like the “Stand-up Australia” and “Stand & Move” studies currently in progress.

Ergotron WorkFit™ sit-stand workstations were chosen as the intervention because they enable office workers to move from a sitting to standing posture (postural rotation) and back again effortlessly. Desks that feature hand-cranking adjustment were ruled out of consideration due to concern that the repeated cranking motion required could itself be a cause of repetitive stress and motor-operated, a lengthy process which likely prohibits mobility, rather than fosters it and burns natural energy resources instead of calories.

Why the distinction? There’s plenty of science indicating that increased activity is vital for a healthy work style, especially these days when technology has taken so many physical tasks out of our hands.

Testament to the importance and timeliness of Ergotron’s continued focus on sit-stand postural rotation research activities is the American Medical Association’s (AMA) recent announcement about adopting a policy on sitting in the workplace: AMA Adopts New Policies on Second Day of Voting at Annual Meeting.

According to AMA board member Patrice Harris, MD, “Prolonged sitting, particularly in work settings, can cause health problems, and encouraging work places to offer employees alternatives to sitting all day will help to create a healthier workforce.”­

Overall, a sit-stand desk appears to be a promising tool to reduce sedentary time at work. Given the proportion of hours spent at work, sit-stand desks may contribute to decreasing sedentary time and improving the health of sedentary office workers.

“Utilizing a product that can improve one’s work experience without negatively impacting health or productivity is paramount,” says Schmitz. “Ergotron’s WorkFit line represents results-driven product design, as evidenced by one of the key findings of the research, that the intervention increased overall sense of well-being, decreased fatigue, and surprisingly, reduced appetite.”

Research like this is helping businesses define how to accomplish the AMA directives. We’ll share more information when the study is formally published. Until then, you will find more sit-stand research and news at Research.juststand.org.

For more information, resources and tools to make your computer experience less damaging and more rewarding, visit us at Computingcomfort.org and Juststand.org.