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8 Ways to Take a Stand

/ Wednesday, 09 January 2013 / Published in Articles

If you think that you are immune to the woes of our society and to the modern-day desk sentence that is killing us, you are wrong. The more you sit, the more likely you are to die sooner, no matter how fit you are. Going to the gym is not going to change that. Half an hour of a hard workout at the gym, or even an hour, after a day at the office is not going to make up for the damage done. This is why we see so many people, especially women, struggle with weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol in spite of watching what they eat and exercising.

So what is a person to do besides say “Shoot me now!”?

Take a stand.

You might wonder how you can stand when you have to sit at a desk all day at work, but there are ways, and your employer just may thank you when they realize what’s in it for them.

While many people may think that there is little risk for injury if they are just sitting all day, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety says otherwise. Employees who do not have movement in their jobs, whether sitting or standing all day, suffer from back pain, muscle tenderness, aches and pains. They get varicose veins, stiff necks, and numbness in the legs – all negative effects from lack of movement, and all negative effects considered to be job injury or occupational health and safety problems. They are problems not associated with workers employed doing heavier tasks.

And, you may think that if you are not doing anything but sitting all day that you shouldn’t get tired, but fatigue is actually increased by inactivity. Our muscles are forced to hold our buttocks, necks, and shoulders in a fixed position that squeezes blood vessels in the muscles, thereby reducing the blood supply to those muscles, accelerating fatigue and making muscles prone to injury.

1). Take a break.

It has been proven that those who take more breaks from sitting throughout the day have slimmer waists, lower body mass indexes (BMIs), and healthier blood fat and sugar levels than those who stay seated.

2). Switch positions.

The best thing to do is to alternate between sitting and standing and other positions that require movement. But note that even frequent changes in position are not enough to prevent the blood from pooling in employees’ legs.

3). Incorporate vigorous activity.

It is recommended that for every 40 to 50 minutes of sitting, that you spend at least 5 minutes engaged in vigorous activity. Run around the building if you have to. Run up and down the stairs. Strike a pose that makes you breathe and gets your muscles working or exercise in place. The heart, lungs, and muscles need counterbalance to the effects of sitting.

4). Take “activity breaks.”

The Canadian Centre for Health and Occupational Safety explains that jobs should include “activity breaks.” These are work-related tasks that take the employee away from the desk and may involve simple exercise. Researchers explain that our bodies don’t know the difference between lifting weights at the gym or books at the office, just get moving.

5). Change your desk to a workstation.

These days, with all of our new technology, there is also new office technology, and standing workstations are becoming popular among some of the bigger companies that are getting smart and want to save on employee sick days and gain in productivity. Workstations should ideally still have a chair so that positions can be altered.

6). Use a treadmill desk.

Some of the really savvy companies are taking advantage of walking treadmill desks. They know that what is good is good for their employees, is good for them.

7). Have walking meetings.

Ever wanted to walk out on a meeting? You might want to do just that. Walking meetings are becoming a new trend for when going to a golf course is not practical or affordable.

8). Use exercise balls and yoga matts.

Some workplaces are even sitting on exercise balls instead of chairs, while others may create space to spread out a yoga matt. Stretching out on the floor with a laptop is a great way to switch position and get blood flowing to the limbs – and the brain.

These recommendations are not weird. This is the new smart, and if we are really smart, these alternatives to sitting will be the new trends. The future is ours – if we take a stand.

So far, we have been working more and producing less, but with new ways of incorporating movement into our daily work lives, we can have more energy, be more alert and creative, be more productive, be happier and healthier, and get sick less.

Smart employers know that they can save on sick days if they help promote the health and general well-being of their employees. And the better people feel, the happier they are, no matter where they are – even if they are at work. This promotes a more profitable, dynamic work environment and contributes to employee loyalty. These are all pluses for the employer, which is why small investments in office modification can have huge payoffs, and possibly have your employer thanking you for taking a stand.

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