Stand-Up Desks Combat Sedentary Habits

The research is clear-cut: Spending too many hours in a chair is killing us. Sedentary habits like prolonged computer-usage and television-watching correlates with shorter life spans, metabolic diseases (such as diabetes), and cardiovascular disease. What can we do about it?

Get Up and Move! Desk-based jobs = Societal Weight Gain

The solution sounds simple: repeated, frequent bouts of meandering-style activities can effectively combat the ill effects of sitting all day. Many of you have heard me promote “Manpo-Kei,” which is Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke’s program of step-counting. Dr. Locke was my thesis mentor at ASU, where she pioneered walking programs for weight-loss and diabetes control. Today, she is at the fore-front of the movement to find alternatives to the traditional computer-based workstation and its expensive, ergonomic chair. Instead of spending hundreds on a great chair, get rid of that chair altogether!(1)

Replace the chair with a stability ball.
Change your desk height to allow for standing.
Add an under-desk pedal device for an active workstation.

Simply creating a sit/stand option increases workplace satisfaction. In Tudor-Locke’s research, workers using sit/stand desks report improved perceptions of energy, health, happiness, posture and productivity. Many sit/stand workstation users report much less body soreness, less back pain, less shoulder pain, and decreased wrist and elbow pain.

Even better, if you can add a pedal device under your desk, you can burn nearly 2 cal/min, or 120 calories per hour. If you pedal continuously, your increase in activity could generate significant changes in your body weight and overall health. If you’d like more information, email me!

[Tudor-Locke, C. Et al. 2014. Changing the way we work: Elevating energy expenditure with workstation alternatives. International Journal of Obesity, 38 (6), 755-65.]

Nancy L Howe

I was a daily exerciser and I ate my fruits and vegetables, but in 1997, I was diagnosed with cancer anyway. I experienced first-hand the benefits of physical activity during treatment and beyond. That was my "Aha!" moment. I left my corporate career, earned my masters at Arizona State University studying exercise science, and joined the staff of University of Arizona cancer researchers in 2005. In 2013, I earned my Cancer Exercise Specialist certification from the University of Northern Colorado, Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute, and founded Strong Cancer Recovery. In 2017, I joined the Arizona State University Cancer Prevention and Integrative Medicine research team, and entered the PhD program at ASU's College of Nursing and Health Innovation. My research focus is breast-cancer-related lymphedema, including the preventive and ameliorative benefits of physical activity.

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