Stand up for health - less bum, more leg!
Friday 21 August 2015
Professor John Buckley
Professor John Buckley of the University of Chester will be providing an insight into the historical, scientific and health perspective of getting office workers to stand up more frequently at work as a literal 'first step' towards increasing daily activity.
Professor John Buckley is recognised internationally in the field of cardiovascular health and rehabilitation. He is lead author of the world’s first guideline on preventing sedentary behaviour in office workers.
John has recently presented at our Sit-Stand event in conjunction with the University of Chester.
Q: Is there any evidence to support sit-stand desks as a way to rehabilitate from MSD's or physical trauma? (MSD's being bad backs etc).
A: Initial rationale for sit-stand desks was based around people needing relief for musculoskeletal aches and pains exacerbated by sitting.
Q: Is a sit-stand desk one whereby the user can switch it between the standing and seating positions themselves? Someone in my office had their desk raised but he can't put it back to the seating position.
A: It is important to be able to adjust one's work station or have alternatives in the office where the same work can be performed sitting and standing. Some people prefer to do different types of work in either a seated or standing position. If people become too tired or fatigued from prolonged standing they need to have the facility to sit down.
Q: Is sitting and standing on alternate days as beneficial as sitting and standing for half of one day?
A: Good question, current research has not yet allowed us to delineate the difference yet. As with physical activity, bouts of the activity and bouts of recovery are usually the best way, because this allows for gradual physical adaptations of the muscle, metabolism and bones to occur. The body is not built to be either in a state of prolonged rest or prolonged state of activity but a balance between the two.
Q: Are the desk models of stands for PCs good enough rather than buying a £1000 sit-stand desk?
A: It all depends what your workspace requires. For individuals who need to spread out work/papers/documents etc around their computer and monitor then this must be at the same height as the keyboard work surface. If, however, one's work is just on the computer then a simple computer monitor and keyboard riser is fine.
Q: is there any insight into how this could help improve mental health issues such as depression? Also is it best to do little and often or more prolonged periods but less frequently?
A: There are increasing amounts of evidence linking sedentary behaviour in general with poorer mental health. How this is differentiated between sedentary occupational and leisure/home time is not yet clear however. Prolonged standing still is similar to prolonged bouts of sitting still. The whole point of getting on one's feet is to increase some movement and muscle activity frequently throughout the day, with the aim to accumulate at least 2 hours over the day. Many occupations do involve standing for more than 4 hours per day but these typically have some light activity occurring (e.g. sales clerk, school teacher, hospital doctor/nurse etc)
Q: We don't have the budget for lots of sit-stand desks - have you any other tips for things staff can do standing at work?
A: At some point in the future, office furniture has to be changed so this will be the time to make those changes to more ergo friendly workstations. When you have a task that doesn't mean you need to be sitting down, find a work surface somewhere which allows you to perform it standing up. You don't need to be seated to have discussions with your colleagues or if you are speaking on the telephone. Make active choices for your transportation not always trying to have vehicles or buses/trains getting you as near as possible to work. Take 5 minutes longer in getting to work and 5 minutes longer leaving work which means an extra 10 minutes on your feet and then a lunchtime walk or at least spending most of your lunch break on your feet.
Q: Sit to stand desk..I'm looking at whole height adjustable desk versus the small raised computer ones that can be put on current desk for computer. Is either option a better one? I have a slipped disc.
A: Before purchasing, does your slipped disc pose a problem if you are standing up for more than 5 minutes. It might be worth investing in a physio appointment prior to changing your desk. It all depends what your workspace requires. For individuals who need to spread out work/papers/documents etc around their computer and monitor then this must be at the same height as the keyboard work surface. If however, one's work is just on the computer then a simple computer monitor and keyboard riser is fine.