Tag Archives: sedentary lifestyle

Speak Out! for Kids’ Health & PE

Courtesy of SHAPE America

Bob Hill, Ergotron’s Education Manager, will join more than 200 fellow health and physical education advocates representing nearly 50 states on Capitol Hill to take part in the SHAPE America (Society of Health and Physical Educators) 10th annual member lobby day, SPEAK Out! Day, on April 25-26.

Bob is in DC to help champion the importance of physical activity in education, and especially within sedentary middle- and high-school classrooms. Research shows there is a link between movement and learning, so health and physical education can help boost academic performance. He will also share insights and success stories about introducing non-disruptive, low-level activity into the classroom. (In the words of teachers, adjustable standing desks are a “game-changer.”)

Movement matters. Health matters. Performance matters. Ergotron is helping to lead the charge to create better learning environments that give students the best chance for success, now and in the future.

Active learning spaces empower students to lead active, healthy lives, which is SHAPE America’s national commitment called 50 Million Strong by 2029.

Join us on social. Find SPEAK Out! Day updates during the two-day event by following @SHAPE_America and #MoreTitleIV on Twitter.

ErgotronHome: Resolve to rock your 2017!

If you’re like most Americans, you recently made a New Year’s resolution or two. As you’d probably guess, the most common resolutions are related to health: lose weight, eat better, and get more exercise. Well, 2017 is on the move – how about you?

We all know that sticking with a New Year’s resolution is difficult – in fact, January 17th has come to be called “Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day.” (An informal survey of team members about past resolutions confirmed that most of us do indeed fall off the wagon then.) But the good news is that the act of setting a goal already makes you much more likely to reach it.

One trick that helps assure success is to start small and let momentum build slowly over time. Setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is tempting, but that’s what causes most resolvers to crash and burn. Focusing on tiny behaviors that take only a few minutes makes taking action so easy that it’s embarrassing not to.

An example is stepping in place during one TV commercial. With repetition that behavior becomes automatic. Then it’s easy to expand and enlarge that small act into stepping during the entire program. Soon enough, you could be stepping through the whole show.

How long will that take? Scientists at University College London found that it takes on average 66 days to make habits “second nature,” so you don’t have to exercise any willpower. In fact, it feels uncomfortable when you don’t carry out a “super-habit” such as brushing your teeth before bed.

If you’re coming up short on ideas for 2017 New Year’s resolutions, here are a few from some of our healthy, happy ErgotronHome™ employees:

Calorie Burn

“It’s way easier to avoid that slice of leftover birthday cake if you know it’s a whopping 350 calories. This year, I’ll be tracking on MyFitnessPal to see how many calories I’m consuming in each sugary treat – and how much I need to exercise (or stand up!) to burn it off.”

Daylight

“In 2017, I’m going to go outside or stand near a window to get some daylight whenever I can. A study by Swiss scientists showed that people exposed to daylight were way more alert at the beginning of the evening versus those exposed to artificial light, who were sleepier. Plus, it relaxes my eyes to look out into the distance and take in the view.”

Email Control

“I’ve resolved to stop checking my devices obsessively. I figure that if I’m checking for messages or refreshing my social stream every five minutes during the day, that means I’m checking in at least 24,000 times a year. No wonder it’s so hard for me to concentrate.”

Mind Refresh

“I promise to set the timer on my smartphone to three minutes, and then close my eyes for that time and focus only on my breathing without trying to change it. I always feel a lot more clear-headed afterwards, but I feel guilty taking a break during really busy days. Not in 2017!”

Stand Up!

“I haven’t made it a habit to stand more throughout the day, especially while in front of a screen. No more planting myself in a chair in front of the TV. Sure, it may take some getting used to, but it’s a relatively painless way to make a small, yet significant, difference in my health. When I remember to do it, I do feel the results (more productive, more alert) almost immediately.”

Family Fun

“I resolve to set a fun ‘appointment’ in Outlook so I’m reminded that our family is on a healthier, happier path this year. Kids need to be active for an hour a day, so I’ll schedule going to the park or family swim at the Y. Snow is a good excuse to bust out the old Wii and play active games indoors. Moving more busts stress, which gets in the way of learning for kids – and everyone else, come to think of it.”

Clutter Buster

“We got a new tablet for Christmas this year and I want to mount it on the wall so everything is secure and tidy, but stylish. Then I’ll get into the kitchen, toss out the junky stuff on my countertops, and put out a fruit basket instead. Cornell University researchers found that visible healthy snacks help us keep to a healthy weight.”

Tell us about your New Year’s resolutions and how you’ll make them stick!

ErgotronHome: fight ugly ErgoZombie horrors

zombies

While closing out this year’s National Ergonomics Month, we’d like you to be aware that ErgotronHome™ offers timely defense to the horrors of an impending ErgoZombie Apocalypse.

At the risk of sounding alarmist, there is troubling scientific evidence that a spreading epidemic of sedentariness and tortured postures could soon reduce earth’s population to listless hordes of the unfit, preying on unsuspecting friends and neighbors.

You stand a good chance of remaining among the upright with a survival strategy that includes outfitting your home for a long siege. ErgotronHome offers complete protection for safeguarding yourself and your loved ones against the Posture Plague.

What is the essential gear for ErgoZombie survival? A complete sit-stand desk. A sit-stand desk add-on for an existing workstation. An innovative sit-stand laptop stand. A wall-mounted charging “hub” with a flip-door standing desk surface.

Put your well-being first, and you will also ensure the preservation of our entire species! How does ErgotronHome fight ugly ergonomic horrors? Their sit-stand desk products are heart healthy. They increase energy. Improve posture. Tone muscles. Boost metabolism. Burn extra calories.

So now we’re all familiar with the benefits of using a sit/stand desk, but are you aware of an unusual bonus of using a standing desk?

You’re quicker on your feet when standing, so if zombies actually do invade your community, you’ll be the first to escape.

Be prepared, or be ErgoZombie bait!

 

ErgotronHome: Homework? Increase your calorie burn at home

EH_Calorie-Burn_Aug16

ErgotronHome™ Workspace™ Lift35 converts any surface into a sit-stand desk

Many of us have no doubt been glued to our televisions this summer, watching exciting sports events such as Euro 2016, Wimbledon and the Rio Olympics! Now’s the time to get in on the action, even if all that swimming, running, and jumping is too vigorous for you. As fall gears up, make the most of it by getting in some fun activities that boost fitness and burn calories.

Here are some approximate average calorie counts for fun, at-home un-workouts:

Go for a bike ride = a light spin for 7 minutes can burn 50 calories.

Vacuum the house = going clean-crazy for 13 minutes uses up to 54 calories,

Dance party = boogie down for 11 minutes and burn up 56 calories.

De-stress with yoga = lightly stretching for 17 minutes burns 50 calories.

Play catch with the kids = toss the ball around for 18 minutes and burn 54 calories.

Mow the lawn = give the grass a haircut for 8 minutes and torch 52 calories.

Wash your car = scrub a dub for 15 minutes and burn 54 calories.

Croquet anyone? = play this lawn game for 20 minutes, shed 57 calories.

Do yard work = weed flowerbeds for 10 minutes to burn 59 calories. (Beautiful blooms are a bonus.)

Badminton challenge! = volley a shuttlecock for 10 minutes to expend 54 calories.

Play with your pet = Fido loves fetch, plus 15 minutes can burn 50 calories for you.

BBQ or cook = fire up the grill, indoors or out, for 25 minutes and use up 57 calories.

After-dinner stroll = a pleasant 12-minute walk in the evening can burn 51 calories.

And for the absolute easiest way to speed up your metabolism and feel the calorie burn? Stand when doing any computing or gaming – one hour burns an extra 37 calories. Shorter standing sessions are fine, too. In fact, we recommend you switch it up after 20-30 minutes of either sitting or standing to get the most health benefits. Or, use our Calorie-Burn Calculator to figure out how an increase in can help you maximize your fitness routine. This is home work all of us can love.

 

 

 

 

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.

JSI3

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.

 

ErgotronHome™ Lift24 now shipping!

 

The wait is over for our ErgotronHome Workspace™ Lift24. What’s a Lift24? Simply, it’s a portable, adjustable laptop stand that converts any surface into a stylish standing desk. Genius! Shop now on www.ergotronhome.com.

 

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.

Sit-Stand Postural Rotation for the Worker

Carrie Schmitz, Office Ergonomics Consultant & Engineering Publications Manager @ Ergotron

I had the pleasure of having a conversation with David Antle about his recent studies and blog initiatives. David initially engaged with us through our weekly #ergochat—the ergonomics twitter chat hosted by @HeatherRou. We originally spoke about different ergonomic topics, and this is the first one that came to fruition.

David’s post, “The Multi-Factored Issue of Adapting Working Posture,” explores factors around the ergonomic way of discussing sit-stand. David brings a whole new perspective from the ergonomic field, and it was energizing to meld his theories with our own sit-stand manufacturing concepts. He spoke about the systemic approach to sitting AND standing too much, how postural change can be affected by task, and talking in terms of productivity and ROI to engage employers.

We look forward to future collaborations and blog posts together. Also, be sure to join for the next #ergochat—a great forum to discuss how ergonomics and research is ever changing. We’d love to hear your perspective as well!

____

David M. Antle is a PhD candidate at the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at McGill University (Montreal, QC, Canada) where he is completing a research project on the impacts of working posture on health and performance outcomes in production work. David can be reached on Twitter and at his blog

We raise our hands, & our workstations too, to help stop diabetes!

 
Can active workstations make a difference in promoting a healthier lifestyle? We think so! That’s why we are supporting the Minnesota American Diabetes Association’s efforts throughout the year. Watch for Ergotron at many of the American Diabetes Association events, including the May 5th Gala where sit-stand hopefuls can bid on several Ergotron WorkFit workstations

Get involved with the Stop Diabetes campaign or visit Research.juststand.org to learn about the healthy benefits of standing more.

To sit or to stand; or to sit and stand? Eggs are good. Wait, eggs are bad?

Wendy McCubbin, Sr. Manager, Workspace Wellness @ Ergotron

Ahhh… it’s the question of the day – to sit, or to stand? While there are differing opinions, l love that the conversation continues, helping us in our cause to create awareness on the dangerous, sometimes deadly effects of sedentary work environments and sitting disease!

First, THANK YOU Cornell University, specifically the faculty and staff at CUErgo, for contributing to the sit versus stand conversation last week in your posting, “Sitting and Standing at Work” linking to research led by Professor Alan Hedge, Cornell University, Design & Environmental Analysis, in 2004.

Thanks also to LifeHacker, HackerNews and most recently, TreeHugger for picking up on the posting and drawing more people into the conversation. At times, I’ve enjoyed reading the comments almost as much as the postings!

For those of you who’ve not yet read it, the CUErgo posting identifies the perils of sitting and of standing and concludes that periodic acts of movement is all that’s needed to give our bodies the replenishment they need.

The study they reference dates back to 2004 though, and there is a mounting evidence of more current research identifying the dangers associated with long periods of sitting “to do computer work” and which support the need for sit-stand work environments.

Healthier alternatives to fixed or even height-adjustable workspaces have evolved so much since then!

This is why Ergotron launched the Just Stand Wellness Uprising in 2010, a causal campaign designed to educate workers from around the world about the dangers imposed by our sedentary work environments and that healthy workspace options to avoid sitting disease do exist!

But creating an Uprising is a hell of an undertaking, which is why we’re happy you’ve all contributed to the conversation with your postings… and we look forward to more of it!

Sitting too much IS deadly

As a self-proclaimed sit-stand evangelista, I’m jazzed that you all continue to contribute to the awareness through your postings, drawing more attention to an important issue—sitting too much is deadly.

Research claims that we are spending nearly 77% of our day just sitting, so as CUErgo points out, the peril of sitting “…for more than 1 hour has been shown to induce biochemical changes in lipase activity (an enzyme involved in fat metabolism) and in glucose metabolism that leads to the deposit of fats in adipose tissue rather than these being metabolized by muscle, and extensive sitting also relates to heart disease risks, so people are advocating standing to work because this use more muscle activity (burns about 20% more calories). These changes happen in both fit people who regularly aerobically work out and also unfit and obese people, so regular exercise doesn’t address this.”

“It’s not just how much physical activity you get, but how much time you spend sitting that can affect your risk of death.”

Clearly, the physiological and biochemical reactions defined by CUErgo as a peril to sitting might be contributors to the shocking discovery published in 2009 by Dr. Alpa Patel and the American Cancer Society who, after observing over 123,000 individuals between 1993 and 2006, found a link between “More Time Spent Sitting to Higher Risk of Death.”

In their research, Dr. Patel and the American Cancer Society determined “it’s not just how much physical activity you get, but how much time you spend sitting that can affect your risk of death.” In it, researchers concluded that time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level.

Are the theories summarized in the posting by CUErgo wrong?  Not entirely.

While CUErgo seems to question the health benefits of standing, it is interesting to note that Professor Hedge summarized, “There is good evidence to indicate that adjustable furniture that can support sit-stand working may be beneficial to the health and performance of office workers.”

And this summarization is shared by medical experts, ergonomists, and researchers from around the world who provide an important holistic view of the very real dangers of sitting disease and who advocate the need to do away with the sedentary work routines we’ve been forced to work within.

Research has established that the act of standing increases blood flow, metabolic rates and caloric burn while improving focus, energy and productivity and will reduce the stiffness, discomfort and aches commonly associated with computing and long periods of sitting. There is even mounting evidence that increased energy and focus associated with sit-stand options impact productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness in a significant way.

We need never be sentenced to our office chair again!

We agree, CUErgo, standing all day can be unhealthy!  That’s why we advocate a healthy blend of sitting and standing and to give individuals the option to sit and stand whenever, and for as long as, they choose—in doses that are comfortable for them.  But indeed, they need the option.

Unlike the electronic height-adjustable workstations you observed in the 2004 research, what’s exciting for businesses and consumers today is access to a growing list of affordable, height-adjustable, wellness enhancing products that are as easy to adjust from a seated to a standing position as, well, simply standing is. Today’s knowledge worker need never be sentenced to their office chair again.

The interesting thing about the 2004 study is that it claimed the 33 people they observed were “self-assessed with musculoskeletal discomfort.” In the 2011 JourneyWell Take A Stand project, 16 of the participants claimed no health issues prior to access to a sit-stand workstation. After the units were removed? Nearly ALL claimed some level of discomfort when forced to return to their sit-only, sedentary work routine!

It says to me that the average office worker may be completely unaware of how uncomfortable they are and even more unaware of how dangerous long periods of sitting can be.

So the perils may instead lie in not adopting sit-stand workstation options. And with prices ranging from only $400 to $1000, consumers are no longer shut off from being able to afford it!  The beauty is: the sophistication of the technology enabling easy sit-stand adjustability has advanced significantly from the electronic desks of the Cornell Study.

Here’s an invitation Cornell!

Our invitation to Cornell remains the same as one that other leading researchers around the globe have already accepted—let Ergotron be a part of your next sit-stand research!

There is so much more to learn and definitely so much to gain.  Plus, our lives are depending on it.

On a final note, I wouldn’t be completely fulfilling my duties as a sit-stand evangelista if I didn’t attempt to contribute to the conversation and the collaboration we’ve established this week, so of all the research that currently exists, here’s my top ten.

Pssst LifeHacker, you made it … twice!

WorkFit Wendy’s Top Ten “Take a Stand” references

  1. Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults  Journal of Epidemiology (April 2010)
  2. Sitting Time & Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease & Cancer Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2009) Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute
  3. Your Body’s Biggest Enemy The dangers of living a sedentary life: Learn how to ward off the nasty effects of a new epidemic called Sitting Disease (September 2011)
  4. Excessive Sitting Linked to Premature Death in Women USAToday (August 2011)
  5. Calories Burned By Standing Up eHow Health (okay, okay, no date given, but it seems really current, does that count?)
  6. The Many Benefits of Standing at Your Desk Harvard Business Review (August 2010)
  7. Prolonged Sitting Causes Disease, Standing Fights it LifeHacker (11/19/07)
  8. The “Sitting Is Killing You” Infographic Shows Just How Bad Prolonged Sitting Is  LifeHacker (05/11/11)
  9. Physical Inactivity Linked to Increased Risk for Chronic Disease University of Missouri (August 2011)

…. and my absolute favorite? Drumrolllllllllllllllll, please….

10.  Study: Standing and Sitting at Work Improves Health, Happiness of Workers PR Newswire (08/01/11)