Tag Archives: sitting disease

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




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.

[video] New WorKFit workstations designed for Apple users

YouTube Preview Image

Watch a day in the work life of an Apple® user to see a new perspective on healthier computing. The new WorkFit-A and WorkFit-P Sit-Stand Workstations – for Apple, are designed for the unique needs of Mac computer and Laptop users. Standing more never looked so good.

The Summit is back…5 reasons to look forward to it

Corporate leaders share best practices at summitThe recent announcement by the American Medical Association (AMA), cited “Health Risks of Sitting” (and “Recognizing Obesity as a Disease”) among the new policies they voted to adopt during their annual meeting. At Ergotron, this is a huge milestone in our 3-year long charter to reduce sitting time and the health risks linked to it.

Does knowing this now concern you about the amount of sitting you do in your day? Do you know what YOUR risk is for “Sitting Disease”? Or what you can do to reduce this risk AND encourage employers/employees to do the same?

Sounds like it’s time to check out Ergotron’s 3rd Annual JustStand™ Wellness Summit, July 17 at the McNamara Alumni Center (University of Minnesota campus), Minneapolis, MN. 

This complimentary event gives you a unique opportunity to rub elbows with the top researchers and organizations in the world who have explored alternatives to reducing sitting time, and other “out-of-the-box” approaches to producing healthier, more active, more productive individuals!

So what will YOU get by joining us? Here’s the short list:

1. Be in on the leading edge of global research. When you get minds from the University of Queensland (Australia), Stanford University, the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota and Humantech in a room together, expect something ground-breaking. From to up-to-the-minute research to practical applications, hear about the global initiatives that are shaping the news.

2. Hear from the businesses who are blazing the trail. Organizations like Oberon (a brand of Sálo LLC), the Blue Zones, Rodale, Inc., American Council on Exercise (ACE) and David Martin Consulting Group are pioneers in creating healthier cultures for employees and the businesses they serve. Hear about their challenges and successes, and gain insight into how you might bring that knowledge back to your organization.

3. Network with other industry professionals. Get real-world advice from others facing the same challenges you are. Attendees include human resources, health and wellness, employee relations, compensation and benefits, occupational health, organizational development, facilities and organization development professionals from multiple industries–in both public and private sectors.

4. See and experience the solutions designed to help people reduce sedentary time.  Come see the full-line of WorkFit sit-stand workstation add-ons, desks, and carts for any business environment to evaluate sit-stand computing firsthand.

5. Become a catalyst for change in your environments. It just takes one person to see the vision for a healthier, more productive workplace. Come get all the tools you need to spark a sit-stand Uprising in your business or community. Education is the first step to creating a culture of movement and that’s why we created Juststand.org as a resource and launch pad.

As a bonus! National fitness expert Chris Freytag with tips on fitting fitness into your day, and new this year, exhibitors like the American Heart AssociationAmerican Diabetes Association, and SmartMove, Inc. will be on-site providing additional education on influencing health.

Convinced? We hope so. REGISTRATION is easy but if you have questions, contact us at info@juststand.org.


The Management Challenge Presented by the “Sitting Disease”

by Pete Segar, President, Ergotron Branded Products 

A challenge every manager should consider: The  responsibility to deliver a safe working environment to our employees. 

Up until recently, the standard approach has been to provide computer equipment, and later upgrade with custom ergonomic devices as employees develop problems. Often times, even requiring a doctor’s note to justify the expense. 

But today, with strong evidence that the computing environment itself leads to extended sedentary periods that are damaging to employee health, it is no longer responsible to provide static seated office computing stations to our employees. 

It is our responsibility to provide a safe working environment to all of our workers, and the ability to move fluidly from sitting to standing to help prevent the health impact of overly sedentary behavior during the work day.  The question is no longer whether we need to provide sit to stand workstations, but simply HOW to quickly to deliver them.

Ergotron’s new online WorkFit Finder Tool helps make this decision easy for prospective users looking  to upgrade their computing workstation to sit-stand.

Has your company accepted the challenge?


Come experience the best HIMSS…wait for it, EVER!

Ergotron Perps For HIMSS12 In Las Vegas, Booth 4002

Ergotron Events Managers Jorge Juarez and Nathan Johnston (@bsonoma) are striking a pose in Ergotron’s 2012 HIMSS booth space (#4002). It’s Friday, and they are already exhausted just prepping the shipment of double digit carts and crates to the show.

It’s pretty quiet right now but in a matter of hours they will be backing TESS in that corner, letting sit-standing workstation goodness explode all over that corner and interwoven throughout? Our “you-really can’t-believe-it-until-you-see-it-broadest-selection-anywhere-on-the-HIMSS-floor” point-of-care solutions!

Our friendly Tester Guy will even be there, picture perfect on dozens of well-placed mounted screens…

We’re also going to entice you to come check out what the Just Stand Wellness Uprising is all about you’ll definitely want to learn more about why you might just want to #Findtess.

Can’t you just see it?

If you aren’t heading out, follow show fun on Facebook or @ergoHIT and @ergotron. There’s going to be a great promotion you can enter too—right from your desk each day. Learn more at Promos.ergotron.com.

If you ARE headed to Las Vegas, come on over. We’ll show you around. And don’t forget to say hi to Nate and Jorge. They’ve been working hard to ensure you experience the best HIMSS ever.

What’s the skinny on sit-stand desks? (Hint, it has to do with magic underwear)

A new research study by Ergotron, the University of Minnesota (School of Public Health) and the Mayo Clinic was launched in January: “Standing Compared to Sitting in the Workplace: An Experimental Study of Physiological, Behavioral, and Psychological Effects.”

The study is designed to gauge the impact of increased activity when office workers use sit-stand desks instead of the traditional sitting posture desks which have been linked to risks associated to sedentary behavior. “Magic underwear” from the Mayo Clinic (biker shorts fitted with a unique tracking device), worn through various stages of the study, allow the researchers to tell when participants are in a vertical or horizontal position (i.e., sitting or standing).

Caldrea president and VP of marketing chat with James Levine, MD, during research kickoff @ Caldrea

The research is being conducted at Caldrea/Mrs. Meyers, a manufacturer of natural cleaning products situated in the warehouse district of Minneapolis, Minnesota, by the following team:

    • Mark Pereira, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota
    • Steven Stovitz, MD, MS, Associate Professor , University of Minnesota
    • Nirjhar Dutta, Masters Student in Public Health, University of Minnesota
    • Gabe Koepp, M.S., Project Manager, Mayo Clinic
    • James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic
    • Carrie Schmitz, Ergonomic Research Manager, Ergotron

The study consists of three phases:

    • During the first month, approximately half the participants are working at an Ergotron sit-stand workstation while the other half continue to sit as they have always done.
    • The second month of the study is a “washout,” meaning everyone engages in sit-only desk work, although health measurements are still gathered.
    • In the final month, the people who had sit-stand desks during Month 1 will sit at their normal sit-only desk, while the other half (those who sat during month 1) will use the sit-stand desks.

All desks have been configured to meet the individual needs of the participants.

Measurements taken during the study include: height, weight, hip and waist circumference, sitting and standing heart rates, and heart rates taken after three minutes of stepping on a 16” platform and 15 minutes (one mile) walking at variable speeds on a treadmill.

Self-report surveys are also being administered throughout the study to learn about a participant’s caloric intake, type and level of activity and perceived stress. Participants are encouraged to actively stand 50% more throughout their workday, and will achieve this by adjusting their workstations to sit or stand as their body demands throughout the day, by standing more in meetings, etc.

A significant feature of this study is the use of a medical van developed at Mayo, in partnership with the U of MN, for use within communities. The van houses a DEXA scanner that delivers body mass index data on each of the 30 participants. At the end of the study the measurements and surveys will be compared in order to determine if participants benefited from the time spent engaged in sit-stand work.

Throughout, Ergotron has played a major role, not only supplying the sit-stand workstation solutions participants will be using during the research, but also serving as Project Manager and lending crucial ergonomic resources in terms of education and personal workstation assessments.

Here’s some coverage* of the research to date:

The results of this study are expected to be made public at the end of May and will also be presented at Ergotron’s second annual Just Stand Wellness Summit in July. With what we expect to learn from the Caldrea participants, the possibility that this effort will fuel an even larger, more comprehensive study is high.

*Due to inaccuracies that sometimes get reported, if you have any questions about the study feel free to contact us info@ergotron.com.

Stand-biased? Indirectly we hope so…

Michelle Judd, Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Communications @ Ergotron

February’s Men’sHealth Magazine offers some sage advice from self-professed “notorious sloucher stuck in a sedentary routine and working long hours,” Clint Carter. In his Switch to a Stand-up Desk write-up, Clint, a health editor for the magazine, decided to test drive a WorkFit-S Sit-Stand workstation last fall.

His goal was altruistic: “Slump less and boost productivity.”

He offers some quick Rx to reach his goal but I was curious about his comment to “use stand-biased instead of a sit-stand desk; you’ll spend more time on your feet this way.” He goes on to suggest Ergotron’s WorkFit is stand-biased.

Searching “stand-biased” brings up some interesting articles about use of stand-biased desks in classrooms and of course, Clint’s article. Clint’s point was that a stand-biased desk is higher than normal desks.

Stand-biased is a good thing after all. It’s why we launched the Just Stand Wellness Uprising on Juststand.org.

But equally important as standing more, is adjustability. Does the workstation give you the option to easily and effortlessly sit or stand as your body demands throughout the day? That’s the real motivating factor.

The beauty of the WorkFit line of products (yes, I am evangelizing) is that they attach to any height desk, and still offer 20″ of height-adjustment on top of that. Fit for a really nice chunck of the short to tall global population.

We are stand-biased. Yes. But our units offer both. Not a ground-breaking distinction but an important one.

I was happy to see Clint, in my last communication, is “still standing.” His write-up gives some great tips for easing into a standing routine. Further proof that work can be part of your fitness goals? I think so.

There’s a reason they call it sitting disease

The office worker has been facing a deadly foe each week as they settle down before their computer—little do they know it. This foe? Sitting Disease.  A new study just released from the American Cancer Society reveals an even deadlier link, the strong connection between sitting around and cancer.

According to CBS News report “Study links sitting around to cancer,” the analytical study, presented today at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) annual conference in Washington, D.C., cites “92,000 cases a year of breast and colon cancer that can be blamed on physical inactivity.”

The AICR presented data from a new paper on physical inactivity and breast cancer presentation. The paper, took the findings of 200 studies worldwide and found specific links to 43,ooo new colon cancer cases and 49,000 breast cancer cases.

This press release from the AICR, Getting Up From Your Desk Can Put the “Brakes” on Cancer, explains it more detail.

“Taken together, this research suggests that every day, we’re each given numerous opportunities to be active and protect ourselves from cancer, not one,” said AICR spokesperson Alice Bender, MS RD.  They suggest  a simple model of “make time and break time” as shown in this Infographic (PDF) by the AICR:

“This new research on break time suggests there are small things we can do in the other 15 hours and 30 minutes we spend awake that also make a big difference.” said Bender.

Here’s what a few people are already saying about the news:

@RachaelRettner: More reason to feel guilty about sitting down all day: Prolonged Sitting Linked to Breast and Colon Cancers myhealthnewsdaily.com/prolonged-sitt… #AICR11

@JNCI_Now: @aicrtweets getting up from your desk periodically through out the day can significantly reduce your cancer risk #AICR11

 @aicrtweets: press conference on diet, inactivity and cancer starting – almost 100,000 cancers related to inactivity. #AICR11

And here is some of the other coverage:

Experts: Sitting All Day Is ‘Killing Us’ ow.ly/7i6CK via @CBSChicago #juststand

Prolonged Sitting Linked to Breast and Colon Cancers ow.ly/7i6eW via @MyHealth_MHND #juststand

Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/11/03/prolonged-sitting-may-increase-risk-certain-cancers/#comment

USA Today: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/medical/cancer/story/2011-11-03/Prolonged-sitting-linked-to-breast-cancer-colon-cancer/51051928/1

We have been tracking research on sitting disease  and the health risks of sitting too much for a couple of years. Take a look at the mounting evidence and make the decision for yourself. Isn’t it time to take your health to a new level?

Small things like taking breaks, moving around are good. Over the typical day, you begin to see opportunities to add in more movement, both at work and at home.

Integrate sit-to-stand philosophy in the areas of your life where you spend the largest time sitting, like working at a computer or in front of a TV. Taking an interactive approach to your life not only increases your energy, focus, productivity and general sense of well-being…there are also the obvious benefits of taking preventative measure against serious health risks.

We’ll be tracking the coverage over the weeks and months ahead on Juststand.org and throughout our social media platforms. Take time to start talking about this with your families, coworkers, neighbors and bosses.

The AICR urges us to make time for physical activity and break every hour of sitting with 1 to 2 minutes of activity. This isn’t anything new, we know. The breaks can be simple (e.g. standing to take a call, filing something, walking to talk to a co-worker, etc.). Or, even better, you could adopt a sit-stand workstation.

The real challenge is whether you will do it. Will you?

Inbox wellness? It’s a good fit

Michelle Judd, Sr. Marketing Manager @ Ergotron

Today I received a Fit Tip Tuesday email with 10 Outstanding Fit Tips from Jill Knapp and her Get Up & Get Moving blog. Jill has a wonderful health testimony fighting Type II diabetes. Did you see her on Dr. Oz? She is sharing her success and motivation with others, encouraging people to eat right and exercise for healthier and fuller lives. It is inspirational.

I signed up originally since there is Type II diabetes in the family and I am trying to stay proactive about my health.

In her list she covers the basics: Being physically active, eating protein,  being choosy when eating a nighttime snack. However, what I secretly hoped to see listed wasn’t there. Can you guess what that is?

Stand up at work.

The simplest non-exercise activity intervention you can do for yourself is to stand up. Barring medical conditions that prohibit you from doing so (e.g., pregnant women, people with varicose veins), getting out of your chair is like a wake-up call for your body.

The benefits range from simple muscle strength to mitigating formation of blood clots deep in the legs or even reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and yeah, diabetes. But don’t just take it from me, the research tells more of the full story.

I know, I know, patience grasshopper. Jill could be sharing that tip next week. I’ll be watching with interest.

Do you have Type II diabetes or know someone who does? Jill and her Get Up & Get Moving blog might offer some hope.