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.
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.
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.