Something “unusual” for office workers and parents with kids who like to sit and play computer games, this week.
I’ve just got back from trip to Boston, USA.
I was there to talk to my publisher about the new book that I’ve got coming out in the next month or so (I’ll reveal more in this column during the next few weeks) and in the office space we were working from, the sight of people exercising while still working, was going on all around me.
Just to clarify what you’re looking at in the picture – that’s a guy who although is walking on a treadmill, he IS at work!
And you know what? There was often a queue to get on that same treadmill, pretty much all day long.
Now, in this column I’ve wrote many times about the dangers of sitting for extended periods. And here’s a few facts about sitting:
If you’re doing it for more than nine hours per day, then you’re increasing the risk of back and shoulder pain happening to you more frequently. I think many people are now aware of that concept having either suffered from it themselves, or heard from someone who has (because of it).
But what most people don’t know about sitting is that, indirectly, it can increase the chances of other serious health problems.
How? Well, it’s because that for every hour you spend sitting, you reduce your body’s ability to burn fat by up to 90 per cent. And that happens because sitting slows down your body’s metabolism, which, in turn, reduces the amount of good cholesterol in your body. And without good cholesterol, you’re at a much greater risk of things like heart disease and diabetes.
So, the harsh reality of this week’s column is that we (myself included) need to find ways to sit less.
And one of those ways is to stand at work!
Since my trip to America I’ve talked this over with 13 of my staff – and we all came to the conclusion that we need to start practising what we preach. So, the standing desks are on order.
We’re building an area of my Physio Clinic on Raby Road into a “standing room only” area and every member of staff is going to be spending at least 2-3 hours of their day in there.
We’re bringing in a soft cushioned mat to stand on, to ease any pressure on knee and back joints, and we’ve talked through any modifications that might need to be made to footwear that staff currently wear, to make it much more comfortable, safe and healthy for my staff to work in this new way.
Now, I did raise the possibility of a treadmill with a desk above it – a bit like the one you can see in the photo. But, I got a few funny looks.
Maybe I’ll have to start with that in my own office and slowly but surely convince my staff of the health benefits of walking at work and still working too.
On a serious note – standing desks and treadmills with desktops at work ARE becoming more common. And watch this space over the next few years, as standing at work to answer the phone or use the computer becomes the norm.
And I bet, that once YOU start to do it, you’ll be left wondering why you didn’t do it sooner. Aside from the obvious benefits like less back pain, a healthier looking posture and more good cholesterol in your system, don’t under estimate the extra energy and alertness you’ll enjoy feeling from NOT being “sat” all day long.
And if you’re kids are ALWAYS on the computer and you’re worried about their posture, why not invest in a treadmill and tell them that they can play on the computer until their little heart is content – as long as their little legs are working as fast as their fingers.