British Journal of Sports Medicine's Report on Sedentary Workplaces

by David Roberts June 15, 2015

The British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) is a peer reviewed and globally respected medical journal. This month the BJSM released a report which focused on sedentary workplaces and recommendations for people that are seated for a large proportion of the day. The full report is available here.

We have reviewed the report and below we have quoted several of the key findings with our feedback on the points raised.

Initially progress towards accumulating at least 2 h/day of standing and light activity (light walking) during working hours, eventually progressing to a total accumulation of 4 h/day (prorated to part-time hours) Seated-based work should be regularly broken up with standing-based work and vice versa, and thus, sit–stand adjustable desk stations are highly recommended [BJSM, 2015]
Whilst it's a great idea to get off your seat more during the day we agree that you should start things off gradually with short standing intervals throughout the day whilst you are building up to standing 4 hours a day. Small but conscious changes in your daily routine can help you achieve this e.g; have your morning meeting at a fixed bar leaner type table.  
Similar to the risks of prolonged static seated positions, so too should prolonged static standing postures be avoided; movement does need to be checked and corrected on a regular basis especially in the presence of any musculoskeletal sensations. [BJSM, 2015]
This is an important point and although many people new to standing desks want to jump in and stand for the entire day this is not the best way to approach things. Your sit/stand workstation should be easy to vary during the day. Your situation may vary so please consult your health and safety department or a physician but i find that a mix of 1 hour standing and 1 hour sitting repeated throughout the day works best for me (I started with 30min standing and 1 hour sitting when i was new to this) The Varidesk is unique in that it only takes 3 seconds to go from sitting to standing and then back again so it causes minimum disruption to your workflow.  
Those individuals new to adopting more standing-based work could expect some musculoskeletal sensations and some fatigue as part of the positive adaptive process. If such sensations cannot be relieved either by an altered posture or walking for a few minutes, then the worker should rest, including sitting, with a posture that relieves the sensations. If discomfort does persist, then seeking appropriate medical advice is recommended. [BJSM, 2015]
Great advice and it is always recommended to consult your doctor or an ergonomic specialist when your are first getting started. We encourage the use of an anti-fatigue mat for all sit/standers. This is used when standing to reduce the impact on the joints and makes the We've long been advocates for workplaces with a mix of sitting and standing based work, my first "standing desk" was a rather crudely constructed device made out of two cardboard boxes and a sheet of MDF wood. It worked pretty well and eased my sciatica but the downside was it took me about 5 minutes to go from sitting to standing and therefore i gave up on it. When I first discovered the Varidesk I purchased one as a consumer and then later approached Varidesk USA for rights to share this product with New Zealanders.



David Roberts
David Roberts

Author

Katherine is one of the Directors of VARIDESK New Zealand. She has a passion for health and wellness in the workplace and helping others to enjoy the benefits of a standing desk.


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