The Great Workplace Debate: Sitting vs Standing (Part 1)

Sitting and standing have been around since the dawn of time, but unlike any other time in history, these two common practices now compete head-to-head for supremacy.

As obesity rates continue to rise, researchers wonder if standing could be the cure-all for this epidemic. One truth we must all learn about obesity is that it can affect anyone.

We are obsessed with our bodies in today’s culture. What we wear, what we eat, what we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat and the list continues. Did you exercise today, what about tomorrow, do you have a plan – more, more, more.

In this two-part blog series titled The Great Workplace Debate, we will explore the great debate of sitting versus standing. Today, we will focus on sitting.

Open Discussion

It is not a bad thing to want to have a better, healthier body…in fact it’s good. Health clinics all across the United States want to help ensure we are doing all we can help make healthy decisions, and the workplace is no exception.

For some time now, the debate has been raging whether sitting or standing is the best option for today’s workforce.

The Great Debate – Sitting

The chair has been around forever. Kings ruled great nations while sitting on a throne. Big decisions were made while sitting – whether to go to war, who to conquer today and the list continues. However, in recent years, the chair seems to have become the symbol for all things not good – disease, obesity, laziness and so forth.

Sedentary office jobs are the main focus of the debate because they are sedentary. In the United States, research shows that 50–70% of people sit for more than six hours per day. According to this research, our life expectancy could be cut short simply by sitting.

There is no shortage of articles on the sitting disease. You can find a couple here and here.

According to a USA Today article focused on retirees, sitting has been linked to diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, cognitive decline, heart disease and stroke (just to name a few). People (in general) sit or remain static for up to 15 hours per day according to the article making them more likely of contracting one of the 34 diseases associated with sitting.

Are Sitting and Ergonomics In Direct Conflict With Each Other?

For years, ergonomic professionals have been advocating that you want everything within a certain range of motion in order to not strain your muscles over long periods of time and repeated use.

We have installed keyboard trays, monitor arms, document stands and the like. These items may be in close proximity to our work, but are they keeping us in the chair instead of allowing for movement?

The quick answer is no. These ergonomic items are here to protect us from repeated use injuries. If an item is too far away and you are repeatedly reaching for the item, you could unknowingly be injuring yourself.

Conclusion

Not all sitting is bad, but research is showing us that we need to sit in moderation. There are inherent challenges and health issues that accompany sitting too long but is standing a better alternative?

We will find out in part two of The Great Workplace Debate.

Question: What are your thoughts on the sitting disease? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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