Career Management

News flash: desks with standard chairs are old news. If you’ve been on LinkedIn recently, chances are you’ve been bombarded with videos and images of the new ‘in-thing’ – standing desks. But I witnessed something on LinkedIn that has changed my outlook on desks forever:

Chuck away your Ikea PÅHL desk, and invest in something that’s ‘wheelie’ going to effect your health and wellbeing. A giant hamster wheel.

All jokes aside, in recent years, people have really started noticing the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day. And it’s true – a study conducted by the AMA (American Medical Association) found that sitting for extended periods of time can be bad for your health.

So my office chair can kill?

There are many effects that sitting down all day can have on your body. There are the noticeable ones such as a stiff neck, a slower metabolism and weight gain. But there are numerous more shocking implications that staying seated can bring (source) :

  • Sitting at a desk all day can nearly double your risk of having a heart attack. Now that’s some serious stuff.
  • It can increase your risk of diabetes – a lifelong, serious condition.
  • “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.” ~ Martha Grogan, Cardiologist, Mayo Clinic
  • Obese people sit for 2.5 more hours than slim people.

Modes of attack:

If you’re desk chair is out to kill, it’s important you fight back with equal measures. Here are some minor changes that can help you ensure you’re chair doesn’t harm your health:

Mini:

  • Leave your desk once an hour for 5 minutes. You’ll not only energise your body, but you’ll reinvigorate your mind, too.
  • Adjust your chair to a 135degree angle. This will take the strain off your neck.
  • Interrupt your sitting whenever you can. Just get moving.
  • Take the stairs whenever you can to get in that physical exercise.
  • Have very frequent water breaks.

Medium:

  • Arrange sports days or initiatives at work to encourage movement. Why not start a Thursday evening 5-aside footie team?
  • Ditch the cramped commute and cycle/walk to work.
  • Introduce ‘walking meetings’ – instead of sitting around in a cramped meeting room, stretch those legs and get the team out on a walk around the block whilst you do your meeting.

Massive:

  • Invest in standing desks for your office. they may be expensive but they’ll change productivity in your office forever.
  • Build a giant hamster wheel to walk in whilst you work.
  • Host an annual sports day and get your team active! Great for health and also team building.
  • Make healthy swaps, such as swapping out the office biscuits for a bowl of fruit (probably the most outrageous suggestion on this list.)

Alternative desk ideas:

The treadmill desk

A treadmill desk could be the perfect way to boost your activity during the day. The only potential hazard is losing concentration, balance and being flung off the treadmill at an incredible speed. This option is great if you’re multitasking.

The hamster wheel

If you’ve got huge amounts of spare time, energy and money – creating your own hamster wheel could change your life. Complete the office with water bowls and packets of seeds and, voila, you’re an office of human-sized hamsters.

The standing desk

The simple, standing desks. No gimmicks, just results!

The cycle desk

The cycle desk brings sitting and cycling together.

What’s your desk like? If you use a standing desk we’d love to see it – tweet us a photo of your desk to @UndercoverRec.

Main image credit: Shutterstock

 


About Ruby Lowe

Ruby is a Senior Account Executive at Link Humans in London.

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