Q: You had a column recently about standing/sitting classroom desks being healthier for kids. Wouldn’t the same be true for us grownups at work? We need to do something! – Frank V., Toledo, Ohio
A: We’ve got lots of ammunition to help you convince your boss that the smart, healthy option is to upgrade your workstations to what’s being called a stand-based setup. When you and your colleagues spend more time on your feet, you’ll increase productivity and reduce medical costs.
Some background: In North America, 70 to 95 percent of adults are inactive. And most don’t come close to getting the 150 minutes of physical activity a week that’s the minimum requirement for staving off everything from obesity to cancer.
The health benefits: A 12-year retrospective analysis of data from the Canada Fitness Survey shows that standing two or more hours a day significantly reduces risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and four hours a day provides the most risk reduction. Other studies show that two to four hours of standing time at work can slash the risk of diabetes and heart disease in half, reduce cancer risk by 17 percent and substantially reduce mobility problems associated with weak muscles and back strain.
The furniture: In the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a panel of experts looking at health risks associated with sedentary jobs said their top choice for office desks is an adjustable-height desk that allows standing, sitting and perching on a high stool.
The economic benefits: If your company were to institute a corporate wellness program – standup time and standing desks are a valuable part of that – they could realize major savings. The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism looked at 42 published studies on the economic impact of company-based wellness programs and found that they lead to a 28 percent reduction in sick days, a 26 percent reduction in health costs and a 30 percent reduction in worker’s comp and disability claims. For every dollar spent, $5.93 was saved. (Dr. Mike’s Wellness Institute is a leader in helping companies establishes such programs.) This should help you stand your ground.
© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.