The Benefits of Standing is Now Mainstream News

The health detriments of sitting all day, whether at work in front of a computer or at home on the couch, have been all over the news lately. And it’s not just a New Years resolution fad; people are awakening to the fact that moving around just a little bit makes a bigger difference than one might think. Here are some articles with a variety of perspectives on this…

Macleans: Why sitting is a dangerous health threat by Kate Lunau

As Levine meticulously monitored caloric input and output, it became clear that those who stayed thin were moving around more, but they weren’t devoting more time to formal exercise. Instead, they were unconsciously making little movements throughout the day, burning off the extra calories. They were also spending two hours less per day in a chair, compared with peers who gained weight. Years later, the fact that sedentariness is linked to obesity, independently of exercise, still surprises.

Globe & Mail: Why the sedentary life is killing us by Andre Picard

Do the math and you quickly realize that between sitting in our cars, sitting at our desks at work, sitting in front of the TV, sitting in front of our games consoles, sitting to eat, sitting in school, we hardly move any more. And there is good evidence that inactivity now kills more people than smoking each year.

HBR: Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation by Nilofer Merchant

And so, over the last couple of years, we saw the mainstreaming of the standing desk. Which, certainly, is a step forward. But even that, while it gets you off your duff, won’t help you get real exercise. So four years ago, I made a simple change when I switched one meeting from a coffee meeting to a walking-meeting. I liked it so much it became a regular addition to my calendar; I now average four such meetings, and 20 to 30 miles each week. Today it’s life-changing, but it happened almost by accident.

Salon: Is sitting worse than smoking? by Mary Elizabeth Williams

The Boston Globe recently noted the inevitable rise in “competitive non-sitting,” in a story that featured an anecdote about a woman shamed by her friends for wanting to take a table instead of standing healthfully at a packed bar. Great, something else for people to be smug about while they chug their kombucha.

HBR: To Stand or To Sit at Work: An Auto-Analytics Experiment by Susy Jackson

Then I read Babson researcher Jim Wilson’s article “You, By the Numbers,” and decided to really find out how much exercise it was. Wilson writes about the use of auto-analytics in the workplace with the hope that we use the tools to increase our self-awareness and become better at our jobs and more satisfied with our lives. With advice from Jim, my colleague researched headphones’ effect on his productivity, and I launched an experiment to see if sitting in a chair, sitting on a ball, or standing would help me be more active at work.

Chicago Tribune: Wellness programs for a healthier bottom line by Carolyn Bigda

But now, in addition to those benefits, employers may begin helping incorporate healthy habits into your everyday routine. You may, for example, see sit-to-stand workstations in the office, which give you a choice between sitting at your desk and standing. You won’t become physically fit by standing more during the day, but spending less time in your chair could improve your overall health.

BBC: Stand up at office to lose weight, says exercise scientist by Sean Coughlan

“Your metabolic rate crashes to an absolute minimum. It isn’t natural. Humans are designed to stand up and keep moving.”

Unboxing an ErgoDesktop MyMac Kangaroo Sit-Stand Desk

This spring I ordered a MyMac Kangaroo adjustable height sit-stand desk from ErgoDesktop. This model is designed for an Apple iMac, in particular the 21.5″ model which does not allow for a VESA mount directly onto a support column. The MyMac Kangaroo features two adjustable decks – the work surface and the computer platform – so that not only can you switch between sitting and standing you can also fine-tune for both a comfortable keyboard/mouse height and neck-saving straight-on screen height.

It arrived about a couple week after ordering it and it arrived via FedEx in a snugly packed 32″ x 26″ x 12″ box. This box was fairly heavy, owing largely to the metal base plate and support column. Photocopied instructions intuitively outlined the dozen or so steps it takes to assemble it (Mine was shipped unassembled to save cross-border shipping costs; I believe most Americans receive theirs already in one piece.)

Standing desks aren’t new but they’re also not common (yet), and many people wonder about how they’re made, shipped and assembled. So I thought I’d share with you some photos of my unboxing of this wonderful desk.

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Delivery
Delivery
Delivery box
Delivery box
Shipping box from above
Shipping box from above
Opened up
Opened up
Instructions and fasteners
Instructions and fasteners
Unboxing
Unboxing
Desk surface unpacked
Desk surface unpacked
Miscellaneous pieces
Miscellaneous pieces
Contents
Contents
Column with nitrogen gas spring
Column with nitrogen gas spring
Column - bottom view
Column - bottom view
Metal column
Metal column
Computer platform backing
Computer platform backing
Computer platform/shelf
Computer platform/shelf
Computer platform
Computer platform
Desk surface wrapped
Desk surface wrapped
Cherry finish desk surface
Cherry finish desk surface
Desk surface - side view
Desk surface - side view
Desk surface cross-bar
Desk surface cross-bar
Metal plate
Metal plate
Metal plate close-up
Metal plate close-up
ErgoDesktop logo
ErgoDesktop logo
Pads on plate bottom
Pads on plate bottom
Column end
Column end
Column from behind
Column from behind
Column on metal plate
Column on metal plate
Bolts to attach surface
Bolts to attach surface
Surface attachment
Surface attachment
Back view
Back view
Surface bracket
Surface bracket
Column
Column
Assembled - front view
Assembled - front view
Assembled and ready
Assembled and ready
Assembled desk - looking down
Assembled desk - looking down

My initial thoughts upon unboxing this desk really focused on the quality of both the materials and the engineering. The MyMac Kangaroo is clearly well designed and no shortcuts were made with the sturdy metal pieces and beautifully finished wood surfaces (I chose the cherry). And the gas nitrogen springs perform nicely in aiding the raising or lowering of the shelves.

So far the MyMac Kangaroo has been an excellent desk, well worth buying. It’s just one of several models designed and manufactured in Ohio at ErgoDesktop. A usage review is in the works, later.

Update: Seems like ErgoDesktop can’t keep up with the strong demand. Many online stores appear to be sold out and Amazon currently only has the Kangaroo Pro Junior. But hang tight, they’ll catch up – “2 to 3 weeks” according to the ErgoDesktop homepage.

How Switching to Standing Desks Benefits Society

A personal decision to switch from using a traditional sitting desk to a standing desk is often brought about by an individual’s concern for health after learning about the dangers of prolonged sitting.  As more and more people are appreciating the advantages of using a standing desk one can foresee how the switch can become a simple yet significant lifestyle change that can affect public health.

Venmo Standers

Employees at Venmo standing on the job. Photo: Shreyans Bhansali

Sitting Less Can Improve Health

A recent study showed that desk workers typically spend about 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at work, and are also more likely to sit outside of work. Furthermore, about 70 percent of employees who answered a survey did not meet recommended guidelines for physical activity. It is not surprising therefore, that a positive correlation was found between their body fat composition and sitting time at work. Continue Reading…

Teachers to Students: Stand Up and Fidget

Were you told to sit down and stay still in school?  If you were scolded for moving around, you might wish you were a student today.

Standing at School

6th grade students at Marine Elementary School, MN. Photo: Ben Garvin for The New York Times

Good for Learning

Schools in at least 19 states are trying standing desks. Teachers are finding that children stay more engaged and alert if they have the option to stand during class. (Add swinging foot rests and kids have an outlet for all their restless leg energy, too.) Teachers are certain that standing desks work. They say the desks allow children to burn up their extra energy so they can focus on their schoolwork.

Marine Elementary School outside of Minneapolis was one of the first schools to use standing desks. The principal, Lynn Bormann, is convinced that by encouraging movement the desks are good for children. She says fewer referrals to the office and fewer sick days show that the desks are making a difference. 1 Continue Reading…

The Ergonomics of Office Work: 10 Ways to Improve Your Workspace for Body Health

Long hours of repetitive work and sitting on a computer workstation can take a strain in many parts of the body including the back, the arms, the shoulders, the neck and the legs. You may experience different types of pains, including headaches, eye strain, back aches, leg pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and more. These may result in decreased productivity and even absenteeism, and can increase work related medical costs. Here are some ways to improve your workspace to maintain body health.

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices, including furniture that fit the human body and its movements to achieve health and productivity. Proper ergonomic design is important to prevent repetitive strain which can develop over time and can lead to injury and long-term disability.

A properly designed workstation promotes proper posture, reduces strain and prevents injury. But promoting health also entails an individual’s work related habits that involve proper movement, re-adjustment of position and movements to achieve comfort and prevent prolonged stress on a body part.

Ergonomic Positions

Ideal ergonomic positions. Image: UNC Safety Newsletter

Continue Reading…

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