Up & Moving: The 2016 JustStand Index

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Since launching the first JustStand® Index in 2013, more attention has been given to the dangerous metabolic effects of sedentary lifestyles, or sitting disease as it is more commonly known. Although awareness is growing, there has been little focus on how sitting all day affects the overall health of an organization. We’ve seen the workplace change drastically – with a new generation of workers and innovations in technology – but, for the most part, employees still remain in office chairs. And many of them aren’t happy about it.

In the second JustStand Index, which launched today, we aimed to uncover how sedentary lifestyles are impacting the productivity, engagement and well-being of employees. The report analyzes how sitting impacts key aspects of the workplace – here are the key findings:

  • Company productivity: When feeling restless, employees are more likely to get up and move around (61 percent) than browse the internet or social media, also known as cyberloafing (39 percent). While taking regular breaks is important, the data suggests that employees are spending excessive time away from their desks due to restlessness and physical discomfort from prolonged sitting.
  • Office culture: Over 60 percent of employees dislike or even hate sitting, yet nearly 70 percent do it all day, every day.
  • Employee health: Considering the influx of wearable technology, people are presumably more health-conscious than ever before, but may have been lulled into a false sense of fitness and health. Sixty-two percent of employees indicated that they get the recommended 2.5 hours a week of exercise. However, sitting too much at work, despite physical activity undertaken throughout the week, is detrimental to the human body.
  • Wellness programs: Despite health and wellness programs in corporations being a stated priority, only 23 percent of employees are aware of a wellness program at their company and of that population, only 35 percent of these programs offer alternative workstation as a benefit options to help avoid prolonged sitting.

The JustStand Index also measured the change in awareness from the initial report in 2013. While awareness of sitting disease has doubled (15 percent), it has yet to achieve widespread understanding. And while 86 percent of people believe that prolonged sitting increases the risk of early mortality, only 48 percent of people believe they are personally at risk. This demonstrates the need for further education and conversation throughout the business community.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be exploring these key findings in more detail. In the meantime, visit here to download the full eBook.

 

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Worldwide Stand Up Days!

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Several years ago, most of us weren’t aware of the dangers of sedentary workstyles and prolonged sitting. Today, we know that many office workers sit almost 10 hours a day, which is too much. Regular low-level movement is healthier, so switch from sitting to standing every 30 minutes or so.

To remind us to sit less and move more, engage with one of these upcoming stand up awareness days:

On-Your-Feet-America (00000002)On Your Feet America – April 29, 2016. To learn more, visit their website, follow @getUSAstanding, share #SitLess #MoveMore #OYF16. (Organizers: Get America Standing and Active Working.)

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On Your Feet Britain – April 29, 2016. To learn more, visit their website, follow @getGBstanding, share #SitLess #MoveMore #OYF16. (Organizers: Get Britain Standing and Active Working.)

On-Your-Feet-Canada

On Your Feet Canada – April 29, 2016. To learn more, visit their website, follow @getCDAstanding, share #SitLess #MoveMore #OYF16. (Organizers: Get Canada Standing and Active Working.)

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Get Fit, Don’t Sit – May 4, 2016. To learn more, visit their website, follow @AmDiabetesAssn, share #GetFitDontSit #StopDiabetes. (Organizer: American Diabetes Association.)

Join us in making some simple changes so that you spend more time up off of that chair – at work and at home!

 

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Q&A: How much should I stand?   

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“Obviously there should be a slow ramp up from 100% sitting to a ratio between sitting and standing. What is the optimal ratio? How long should the ramp up be (days, weeks, months)?” ~ Maurico C. 

 

 

Great question, Maurico, and an important one. No one has come up with the hard and fast rule yet, but many of the world’s leading researchers are weighing into the debate. From our perspective, part of this answer depends on how comfortable you are making changes and how hunched and crunched from prolonged sitting you are right now.

Good rule of thumb?

Change postures every 30 minutes. This seems to be an optimal length of time to stand before your body becomes too static, or to sit before your body overloads. This doesn’t work for everyone and some of it depends on the approach you are taking to standing and moving more in the first place. A first step might be to set some goals. If you did the calculations, you may discover you are sitting more than 14 hours during your day. It is an unrealistic goal to cut that number in half in the first week. It is more realistic to start sitting one hour less per day. This gives you some choice about where you begin and helps you achieve success over time as well.

Break up that sedentary slump.

Focus on the most sedentary times of your day. If you are tuning into your internal radio station, more than likely you’ve been hearing some grumbling from that hour of the show…Man, my back feels stiff right now…or…wait a minute, where did that pain come from?  If you haven’t been hearing anything, turn the volume up. Your body will tell you how much it can handle. Do you feel achy or fatigued? Is there any pain? Is it telling you that you feel good, maybe even energized and focused when standing? These are your clues about when to change your position.

You may experience some discomfort at the beginning when switching to sit-stand computing. Maybe after 10 minutes of standing, maybe after an hour. The key is to listen to the message and change postures when you hear it. You will hear it, whether seated or standing. Your body is that good.

One person’s experience – yours may be similar.

In the beginning, I could only stand for about 15 minute increments. I began to notice when I started feeling uncomfortable sitting, and then I would stand for a while. I did this for about a month. As I began to stand for longer periods, I started to do the same thing when I was standing. Were my legs feeling fatigued? Was I shifting around more? Feeling distracted? That was my sign it was time to sit for a while.”  ~ Rose J.

It will be different for everybody, and every body. Of course, consult a doctor if you have other health issues, too. It is important to take a safe approach to any physical change you make.

How long is it going to take to “feel” right?

It might happen as quick as a week, or it might take a few months. We have seen it vary a hundred different ways. The important thing is to maintain healthy posture and follow these sit-stand tips to help make the transition. Don’t give up if you don’t feel terrific right from the start. Over time you will.

In other words, be creative. Decide which activities you prefer doing sitting versus standing. Talking on the phone? Stand up. Write out a proposal? Sit down. Proof reading? Stand up. Filing? Stand up. You decide.

One note for anyone creating a standing only desk set up…be sure to build in rest periods, either by adding a tall stool to your workstation so you can sit periodically, or by exploring other chances to sit and rest, like in meetings or at lunch.

It is a balance that we are trying to reach. A balance personal to our workflow and how our body responds.

Thanks for the question, Mauricio! Anyone else? What’s on your mind?

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