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Is Sitting for Too Long Taking a Toll on Your Health? Giving sit-stand adjustable workstations to staff can result in the productive and healthy workforce

By Komal Nathani

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Sitting at the desk for long hours hampers the productivity of employees is a well-known fact, but how can we avoid that in the workplaces is still a pertinent question in the business ecosystem. As much as every entrepreneur wants the employees to be productive at work, the health of employees is also a part of their responsibility, which many tend to ignore.

A recent research by the University of Loughborough and the University of Leicester published in the British Medical Journal found that giving sit-stand adjustable workstations to staff can result in the productive and healthy workforce. The research says that adjustable workstations can benefit employees feel fewer fatigues and more comfortable at the desk. It can also reduce absenteeism, anxiety and back pain of people.

The result shows that employees who used these workstations for almost a year felt potentially less tired and more active at work.

According to a report, office employees spend 70-80 per cent of their time sitting at desks, who are reportedly losing their productivity sitting for too long at their desks. A group of researchers took at the University of Leicester took the trial of 146 workers, and it showed that 43 per cent of those who swapped their usual seat for a standing desk reported their performance had improved after a year, while 52 per cent of them felt more engaged at their workplaces.

Threats of Sitting for Too Long

Many reports have talked about how uninterrupted sitting can take a toll on the health of people working at offices. A January research of this year by Mayo Clinic says that sitting for too long includes certain diseases like obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome.

A 2017 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine says that sitting for too long can kill you early. The report says, "Take a movement breaks every 30 minutes, say experts. No matter how much you exercise, sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor for early death."

The researchers have added that the effects of too much sitting are hard to counter with exercise. Even if you work out 7 hours a week – for more than the suggested 2-3 hours – you can't reverse the effects of sitting 7 hours at a time. Don't throw away all that hard work at the gym by hitting the couch for the rest of the day.

Other Ways to Control Constant Sitting

Besides sit-stand workstations, here's what you can do more to control constant sitting. The American Heart Association recommends these ideas for moving at the desks,

  • Twice a day, stand up and do a series of stretches targeting the neck, shoulders, back and legs.

  • Use every coffee break to take a brisk walk around the office or through the building lobby.

  • Don't work through lunch—have it away from your desk even if you can't get outside.

  • Use a fitness tracker to count your steps—watching the number climb is a great motivator to do more.

Komal Nathani

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

A firm believer of hard work and patience. Love to cover stories that hold a potential to change the momentum of business world. Currently, a part of all-women web team of Entrepreneur’s Asia Pacific edition to jig the wheel of business journalism!

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