How do you know if you’re sitting too much?


You’ve been sitting for a while, but you can’t really remember how long it’s been. If that’s the case then, chances are, you’ve been sitting too long.

Too Much Sitting

But things aren’t always so cut-and-dry. You know that excessive sitting is referred to as the sitting disease, a condition that increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and a slew of other illnesses. You just aren’t sure if you’ve been sitting too long. So, time to develop a little self-awareness and create new habits before things get out of hand.

Signs you’re sitting too much:

You just feel… blah. Time to get the blood pumping! Your body has been stagnant too long and is asking you for a little movement.

You’re feeling down. Excessive sitting increases loneliness and depression. And it’s easy to understand why: sitting alone is isolating. So get up, take a walk around the office, and say hello to a colleague.

You feel on-edge. You’re feeling irritable and anxious, but you’re not sure why. Sitting could be to blame; it’s been linked to increased anxiety.

You’re gaining weight, or you feel bloated. When you sit for longer than 15 minutes, your digestion slows down. Don’t wait for that to happen; have a quick walk or stretch throughout the day.

You’ve got a sore back or headache. Pain is your body’s way of sending out an SOS. If you’ve developed a headache or backache, it’s likely you’ve been sitting too long.

If you’ve noticed these symptoms, you’re not alone. The average person is sedentary for 21 hours every day. To calculate your time spent sitting at work, use this helpful  Sitting Calculator from juststand.org.

First Sit and Stand Experience: A Week Long Study


Hello everyone,

Nem here, the Web Marketing Specialist. Hope your journey to a healthier workplace is going according to plan. As part of this month’s workplace wellness blog we thought it would be worthwhile to do a mini-study on myself, by myself (not sure if this one will be a part of any peer reviewed journals) with regards to the sit and stand workstations.

Sit & Stand Workstation Study

Many of us at our office got outfitted with these options and we’ve been trying to implement a good balance between sitting and standing. My personal goal was to reach a 50-50 balance. And as a little background on my daily activity; I do not do much moving around – my tasks consist mainly of working on the computer, unless we have to move tables, throw out old equipment or carry stuff into the storage room (Raf, the graphic designer and I are the internal moving team). The only times I get up are for lunch, grabbing coffee or restroom breaks.

 

 

Below is a chart where you will find my sitting vs. standing schedule over a week. You will notice I only hit that goal once during the week, and as a first timer using a sit & stand extension I think that is not too bad. Most of the time I would forget to stand (caught up in doing work) and then I would have to make up the time by standing for prolonged periods of time as opposed to doing timely and balanced intervals.

Weekly Chart: Sitting vs. Standing

Summary of my experiences during this week:

1. Making a daily schedule of when to sit and stand helps remind you to actually stand.

We all get caught up in our responsibilities and our brains have been basically wired to sit (if your job is computer heavy like mine) at work. I made a schedule for each day and followed it (for the most part) to gradually increase my standing time.

2. Doing short intervals between sitting and standing is much better than trying to stand or sit for longer periods.

When I would sit for too long, I tried to balance it out by standing for the same (if not longer) amount of time. Let me tell you, your feet get sore! It’s not too bad but at some point you start to lean on one leg, then the other to avoid soreness. I found myself shuffling my feet, anything but to stay stationary. We even got a Steppie (balancing board for your feet while you stand, it rocks left and right) that I used but it elevated me past my monitors so I went back to alternating my legs while standing. Short intervals > long periods of time.

3. My focus increased while standing.

Usually I would lock in and chip away at a specific task continuously. Perhaps it was the increased blood flow as the manufacturers claim, or it could have been the fact that when you stand to work it’s almost like raising your hand in class. You are put on the spot to answer (or ask a question) and “everyone” is watching. Probably a little subconscious trick of the brain to get you into another gear.

4. Another interesting thing I found is that if any of my colleagues near me were standing, we would be more collaborative (or communicative).

Being eye level with someone (as opposed to being separated by a cubicle wall) made it easier to ask a question directly while working instead of sending an email and waiting for a response. Actually the same case can be made for colleagues in different locations of the office. I found myself walking over and having a conversation (assuming they were not busy or in meetings) regarding certain tasks as opposed to just emailing back and forth.

5. First thing in the morning and first thing after lunch were NOT my standing times.

I would usually take the 1st hour after coming into the office and about 30-45 minutes after lunch to sit. Any other time of the day was fair game.


So there you have it – my initial experiences with the sit & stand workstation on the road to a healthier workday. I would love to hear if anyone else has had a similar or different experience using one of these. I would also be very interested in hearing from people who don’t necessarily work at a computer all day – do you find sitting breaks necessary sometimes?

Happy National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day!


Our friends south of the border are celebrating the National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day today. As strong advocates of workplace wellness we would like to celebrate with them!

National Get Fit Don't Sit Day

 

The American Diabetes Association is spearheading the movement to raise awareness of sedentary habits and how it can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. For regular readers of our blog you will know that balancing your workday with plenty of standing time will result in many other benefits as well.

To help people move, the American Diabetes Association has put together a great set of tools that are available for download:

To really get the point across, they also put together an infographic illustrating the risks of too  much sitting and how to balance activity with sedentary habits:

Click for printable PDF version.

Click for printable PDF version.