For many people who work in busy office environments, incorporating mindful movement into everyday routines can be a challenge. People are now looking to change the way they work and how they can increase health and productivity while at work.
If you spend more than a few hours per day sitting at a desk at home or in the office, an active workstation may be helpful, especially if you find it hard to take breaks. Active workstations help people reduce time spent sitting. Prolonged periods of inactivity are linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even an early death. All of our body functions improve when we expend energy with physical activity.
Here are a few options to keep you physically active throughout the day:
Standing Desks can be a great solution so that you can keep working while standing. You can raise it when you want to stand and lower it when you want to sit. They come in a variety of styles and shapes. There are many standing desks on the market, my favourite that I use is the Veri Electronic Desk.
A more inexpensive solution can be a converter that is placed on a work surface on top of your existing desk and raised to the desired height. There are options for use with one or two monitors. (For example like this one)
Keep in mind that studies show prolonged standing can pool blood in the legs and increase the risk for varicose veins. It’s also not the best option for someone with balance or foot problems or someone with arthritis in the low back, hip or knee. Standing for long periods of time can overload joints and back and can worsen pain.
A treadmill desk is a standing desk with a walking only treadmill attached below. These treadmills are designed to move at a very slow speed (1 to 2 mph) for many hours at a time. This can help solve the issue of blood pooling in the legs, but can still put strain on the lower back if you have issues. You can buy a special under the desk treadmill to use beneath a standing desk you already have. This is what I have from Relaxe! (Purchase yours here)
A cycling or bike desk looks like a stationary bicycle with a desktop attached. It lets you burn slightly more energy than you would at a treadmill desk, especially if you turn up the resistance. A cycling desk has a broader, comfy seat which puts less pressure on the groin area.
It can be easier to type on a cycling desk and while you’re staying seated it can take the pressure off of your hip and knee joints but still allow you to be active while working. It’s also easier to type when using a cycling desk, compared to a treadmill desk which can take some practice.
A review of 12 studies on active workstations, published online January 28, 2019 by Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that all three types of active workstations were associated with a short-term boost in productivity. However:
- Treadmill and cycling desks seemed to have more physiological benefits than standing desks
- Treadmill desks interfered with fine motor skills needed for computer work but were associated with lower psychological stress levels than standing desks.
- Treadmill and cycling desks increased alertness and reduced boredom more than standing desks.
Things to consider
Active workstations require extra space and may involve a bit of an investment. It might be wise to try out a setup your friend has or try it in the store before making your purchase to see if it suits you.
Perhaps an active workstation isn’t the answer for you, and in fact, you need to consider an overall lifestyle change to find ways to increase your daily activity. This is where I can help. Setup a discovery call today functionalvitality.ca/discovery-consultation and let’s chat about how together we can create a lifestyle plan personalized for you to ensure you are getting proper movement each day as well as moving closer to your health goals.