With the daily flood of bad news about pandemics and other dangers, it may surprise many to learn one of the most harmful health threats we face is sitting right in our lap.
The American workplace has a sitting problem. Sitting for long periods of time is hazardous to your health and can even shorten our lifespans. But there are solutions to make the workplace healthier and more comfortable. They may also boost productivity.
Comparing Standing vs. Sitting Desks
The simplest remedy to “over-sitting” is to replace traditional sitting desks in the workplace with standing models. A variety of standing products have entered the market over the past five years as more companies realize the benefits. Using a standing desk with a quality anti-fatigue mat can make a world of difference in promoting proper posture.
Sitting for Too Long is A Disease
"Sitting is the new smoking," according to University of Washington sports-medicine expert Dr. Elliot O’Connor. Like cigarettes, "sitting doesn’t kill anybody the first time they try it."
O’Connor notes a 2011 study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. It found prolonged durations of sitting may increase the risks of more than 30 chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Experts have coined the condition "sitting disease."
Even regular exercise can’t sweat away the negative health effects of over-sitting. A 2010 study states: "Even when adults meet physical activity guidelines, sitting for prolonged periods can compromise metabolic health." The study recommends breaking up periods of sitting over the day.
For many workers, sit-to-stand office products combine the best of both worlds, providing a desk solution that can raise or lower for sitting or standing. The CDC recommends sit-to-stand products as "an effective solution for reducing pain and discomfort due to extended sedentary standing."
The Health Advantages of Standing
Standing offers an amazing array of health benefits, such as increased energy, improved muscle tone, and optimal blood flow. Standing can even help shave off a little flab. A Mayo Clinic report states standing increases metabolism which then burns more calories.
When you stand more, you also end up standing straighter, improving posture. “Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and skeletal system," an OSHA report says. And it reduces the risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder.
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Mats and Standing Workstations: The Winning Combo
A standing workstation offers clear health benefits. But’s there more good news. A stand-capable desk increases the quality of your work. A 2016 study found standing desks contributed to “increased productivity over traditional seated desk use.” It also suggested the ergonomic effects of using standing desks helped improve the physical health those employees. This may have also positively impacted their productivity.
While a quality standing desk or stand/sit hybrid solution makes you healthier and more productive, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. What’s under your feet is as important as what kind of desk is in front of you.
Ergonomic and anti-fatigue mats take the discomfort out of constant standing, reducing foot pressure and stimulating circulation. Combined with a solid standing workstation, soft and durable matting reduces stress on the neck, legs and lower back. Anti-fatigue mats provide a gentle cushion between your feet and a hard floor. The result? Better balance and improved posture.
Additional Benefits from Adding an Anti-Fatigue Mat for a Standing Desk
Clearly, a standing workstation solution, coupled with a top-quality matting system results in a healthier, more productive workplace. The experts agree, as do the many employees who’ve tried to stand more at the office. And there are other benefits. Thanks to the health benefits of standing desks and mats, workers report less fatigue. Many even believe that reducing fatigue in employees may also reduce their risk of causing dangerous workplace accidents.
Finally, some environments may have wet and dry floors. For example, management offices in a restaurant kitchen may use mats with perforated drainage holes. These NoTrax ergonomic and anti-fatigue mats are constructed of closed cell Nitrile/PVC foam. They won't absorb liquids so cleaning spills is a breeze. They also help prevent slips and falls.
For a deeper dive into the health and productivity benefits of workplace standing, check out this free guide to proper standing.
Popular Standing Desk Mats
- Superfoam™ Revive RSSuper soft rubberized gel foam anti-fatigue mat for extreme comfortStarting at: $48.00Superfoam™ Comfort™Comfort and support foam blend antifatigue mat does not absorb liquidsStarting at: $46.00Ergo Comfort™Highest quality puncture resistant polyurethane anti-fatigue foam matStarting at: $112.00