Have you heard the buzz about active workstations?
Active workstations allow you to be less sedentary while you work. Its features may include using an adjustable desk to alternate between sitting and standing all day, using a laptop while walking slowly on a treadmill or even using a balance ball or stool instead of a chair.
This is probably just some fad, right?
Actually, studies are showing just how bad sitting all day is for your health, even if you exercise outside of work. Sitting disease is responsible for everything from increased risk of cardiovascular disease to high blood pressure to reduced lifespans.
If that isn’t enough to convince you to reconfigure your workstation to allow you to be more active, here are 8 reasons to set up an active workstation as soon as possible.
1“Chairs are lethal”
According to obesity researcher James Levine, “Chairs are lethal… Overall, when you combine all causes of death and compare any group of sitters with those who are more active, sitters have a 50 percent greater likelihood of dying.”
Even if you work out regularly, sitting longer than 4 hours daily increases your odds of dying early. The more time you spend sitting every day, the greater your cardiovascular risk.
2You burn more calories
Using an active workstation, such as walking on a treadmill at only one or two miles per hour while working, can help you burn 100 calories per hour more than you would if you were sitting.
In one study, users walked on a treadmill for an average of three hours a day, resulting in burning enough (3,500) calories to lose one pound in only 12 days. Theoretically, you could lose 24 pounds in one year by simply adding an active workstation and not changing anything else about your diet or exercise routine.
3It reduces boredom
Users of active workstations report less boredom and more job satisfaction than other workers. Exercise has been proven to increase your mood by releasing endorphins, which are feel-good hormones, so it just makes sense that burning a few calories throughout the workday can help you feel happier at work.
4Even standing rather than sitting burns calories
Standing burns 50 calories per hour more than sitting. Standing for three hours a day, five days a week adds up to 8 pounds of weight loss over the course of a year without making any other changes.
Even if you are already fit and don’t need to lose weight, you can look at it this way: the 30,000 calories you would burn in a year is equivalent to 10 marathons.
5You may be more productive
One study showed that office workers who spent time walking on treadmills throughout the day were more productive. They turned in higher work quality than their coworkers who sat all day.
Even something as simple as keeping a mini elliptical-type machine under your desk can make you feel less antsy and more inclined to finish whatever you’re working on without needing to wander around the office stretching out your legs (which is still better than nothing).
6It can increase your lifespan
One study showed that working on your feet could add two or more years to your lifespan compared to sitting all day long at your job. That has to be at least worth finding some crates to put your keyboard and monitor on so you can stand while you work, right?
Otherwise, your job is literally killing you. Even if you like your job, you probably don’t want it to shorten your lifespan.
7Sitting too much can affect your memory
Sitting too much is responsible for thinning structures in your brain that are responsible for the formation of memories and exercising later on won’t reverse those effects. This means that a daily trip to the gym won’t save your memory from 8 hours of sitting at a desk all day.
8Standing can increase your mood and energy levels
Standing all day has been shown to increase your energy levels and reduce fatigue. If you feel exhausted after a long day of sitting at work, then investing in a system that allows you to stand or be more active while working might help you feel better overall.
How do you create an active workstation?
While you can spend a lot of money on professional active workstations, there are cheaper measures you can take to make your workstation more conducive to standing or being more active while you work.
If you have a laptop, you have plenty of great options for working in different places. You can buy a portable lectern for a reasonable price and keep it next to your desk. That’ll make it easy for you to switch between sitting at your desk and standing at your lectern.
You can also invest in an adjustable laptop stand, which would arguably be the easiest way to alternate between sitting and standing all day.
If you still need to sit, then stools, exercise balls, and kneeling chairs can help you be more active while sitting. There are small elliptical machines that fit under your desk to keep your legs moving while you sit.
While you’re standing, try adding a river rock mat or a balance board to make your legs work harder to keep you up and stable.
If you really can’t modify your workstation, set an alarm to remind you to get up and walk around every hour or two. You can keep some weights in your office, take the stairs or take a brisk walk around your building. The key is to move throughout the day in whatever way works well enough that you’re willing to implement it every day.
Now, are you inspired to create an active workstation and improve your life?
Your life and the quality of your life are worth investing a little bit of money in improving the way you work.