Why sitting could be the new smoking

This piece is presented by Interstate Office Products.

Greg Sands is getting used to walking while he works.

A few months ago, the CEO of Sands Drywall decided it was too hard to find time during the day to go for a walk or exercise.

So he decided to integrate a mild workout while he worked.

“It’s very functional to go from sitting to standing in literally two minutes. You’re sitting at your desk and you just hit a button and the whole thing goes up,” he explains. “Everything on your desk goes up and you’re walking on the treadmill.”

Sands purchased a Walkstation from Interstate Office Products last year and said that after he adapted to the literal change in pace, it has been a valuable addition to his office.

“At first, it knocked off my equilibrium trying to multitask as you’re walking, but after a couple weeks on it, it was really nice,” he said. “You adapt to walking and emailing at the same time.”

The idea that “sitting is the new smoking” as far as the health risks it presents has been gaining traction for much of this decade, said Dr. David Basel of Avera Medical Group.

Studies have shown increased mortality among people who sit more than six hours daily compared with those who sit three hours or less.

“It would be nice if we could sit three hours or less. It’s hard to do that, but there are a couple ways,” he said.

A common recommendation is to get up every 30 minutes to move and stretch, Basel said. Wearable technology can help trigger reminders. He uses a small set of pedals under his desk to maintain movement.

“I can think of five or six people in my office who have standing desks,” he said.

“Some for back reasons, some for exercise, and I think that’s a good thing. There are a lot of benefits to that sort of activity. You’re increasing your core body strength, muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories and improve your balance and probably improve your overall weight control.”

Adaptable options

As a Premier Partner of Steelcase, Interstate Office Products sells a wide range of adjustable height desks. Many of them require no electric power and easily can be raised up and down to vary posture throughout the day.


“We find once people try this approach, they can’t imagine going back,” Interstate president Gary Gaspar said. “We know that as people are given more control in their workspace to adjust things like how they use their desk, they become more satisfied employees, who are better equipped to perform at their best.”

Steelcase estimates 37 percent of workers lose up to 30 minutes a day dealing with physical discomfort.

“That’s true lost productivity, plus there’s a compounding effect of decreased morale, leading to larger issues,” Gaspar said.

At Sands Drywall, several estimators use adjustable height desks.

“It’s a big shift. Everybody is realizing office workers need to stand,” Sands said. “It’s just unhealthy to sit for nine hours straight.”

Transitioning the equipment itself wasn’t difficult, though.

For his new Walkstation, Sands worked with IOP to design how the piece would fit into his office layout and then had the company coordinate with his I.T. staff to make sure his multiple monitors would be incorporated in his new setup.

“I just walked in and it was all set up and ready to go,” he said. “It was a very, very nice delivery system. I’m 110 percent happy with the service and the product.”


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Why sitting could be the new smoking

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