Stand And Deliver Yourself Better Health


Photo Credits. Er-T-Go standing desk , via InDesignLive and Better Workplace

Standing Desks are a particular hobby horse of our Design and Architecture editor, Lloyd. So we imagine he'll be pleased to learn that the National Heart Foundation in Australia has been spruiking their benefits to human health.

The ABC report that at the foundation's recent annual conference studies were presented showing that:

"sitting for long periods can be dangerous to health, even when people exercise regularly, increasing the risk of heart disease and other conditions by 80 per cent."
Dr. Marc Hamilton, Professor at the US's Pennington Biomedical Research Center has, for many years, been studying the molecular and physiological mechanisms of physical inactivity that cause chronic metabolic diseases. He told the conference the negative effects of sitting can be seen even after an hour.

"Even people who are lean are a risk for this, so we're not immunised by being lean and exercising and eating a healthy diet."

Not that this is new research. Lloyd has already covered some of this in his many previous posts on the subject (see links below). What seems to be pertinent though is that the Australian National Heart Foundation have fully embraced the doctrine of "Sit Less, Move More", as an intrinsic part of their health advice for reducing coronary heart disease. Even to the point of including two downloadable PDFs on Sitting Less for Adults and Sitting Less for Children

The Heart Foundation suggest,

"It's very easy to sit too much - adults spend more than half of their waking hours sitting."
And one of their many recommendations to limit sitting's associated health problems will be music to Lloyd's ear. "Use a height-adjustable desk so you can work standing or sitting."

And the green aspect of standing tables? Well, a healthier population is much less of a burden on a country's limited resources. According the Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in Australia, accounting for 34% of all deaths in Australia in 2006. Analysis by the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), reported by the Sydney Morning Herald found that health spending on cardiovascular disease gobbled up 11% of spending, or $5.4 billion AUD, in 2000/01, making it the biggest drain on the public health purse.

Productivity is another loser. The Heart Foundation also point out that the total economic costs from loss of employment and absenteeism, resulting from cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been estimated at $2.3 billion AUD

Plus if you are standing, you don't need a chair. Less raw materials consumed processed and transported. Industry researcher IbisWorld observes that in Australia alone, "domestic demand for wooden furniture and upholstered seating totals about $736 billion AUD in 2010-11." That's one hell of a lot of money spent on furniture that, when improperly used, contributes to heart disease.

And standing workstations are not just suitable for home or office. Many years ago, when I worked in the rag trade, I remember reading of an Australian sewing factory that rejigged it's entire production floor, so machinists could sew whilst standing. It apparently was a healthier, more productive work environment. Again less materials expended in making work chairs, and one imagines less factory space is needed without chairs.

For the record, this post was written standing at a tabletop hoisted up on some height-adjustable trestle legs.
More Standing Desks
The Standing Desk: Why Hasn't It Caught On?
Are Standing Desks Healthier Than Sitting?
Do You Work At A Standing Desk?
Alternatives for Standing Desks

Tags: Australia | Chairs | Forestry | Furniture | United States