We spend a lot of time sitting… Almost everyone knows that we spend a large part of the day sitting down. Did you know that the Netherlands is even the European sitting champion? In no other country does such a large proportion (62%) of the population sit for more than 5.5 hours a day. And now that we massively work from home, it appears that the number of sitting hours has even increased.
The effect of long sitting
What effect does long sitting have on your body?
Especially the large muscles, such as leg muscles, are inactive while sitting, causing the body’s blood flow to slow down. This can lead to such things as fluid accumulation, varicose veins, reduced metabolism and eventually cardiovascular disease. Blood sugar levels can also be disturbed, resulting in obesity and diabetes. Sitting for long periods of time is additionally stressful for the back. When you sit, the pressure on the intervertebral discs is higher, which can cause back pain.
Nothing but standing work?
The less we sit, the better. So should we all start working standing?
Compared to sitting, standing has a number of advantages. Working standing lowers blood sugar levels faster after a meal than sitting. Standing also reduces the risk of back and shoulder complaints. For this reason, countless sit-stand tables have made their appearance in Dutch offices. Employers want to reduce the risk of absenteeism.
However, prolonged standing is also a challenge for the body. Research has shown that prolonged standing work can cause leg and foot fatigue, varicose veins and back and neck pain. It is not without reason that the Occupational Health and Safety Act has a guideline for standing work, stating advised not to work standing for more than 1 hour at a time and to avoid doing more than 4 hours of standing work in a day.
So working standing can be considered a good alternative for sitting.
A good standing posture
Practice shows that we often stand in the wrong posture. An unfavourable standing posture, such as hanging on one leg, leaning on the table, wearing high heels or standing hunched over, increases the risk of strain on muscles and joints.
You probably once received sitting instructions on how to adjust your office chair. There is now quite a bit of knowledge about ergonomic sitting and healthy posture. But does the same apply to healthy standing?
Maintaining a good posture when standing is important. It is recommended that you place your feet firmly on the floor with your knees slightly bent (not locked). Tense your buttock and abdominal muscles while doing this. By moving your legs every now and then, you ensure that blood circulation in the body is maintained. Also pay attention to the working height of your desktop. For monitor work, it is important to position your desktop at elbow height. Allow your shoulders to slump, while your forearms rest on the desktop.
Variety prevents complaints
The choice to work sitting or standing depends on the type of work. Not all tasks can easily be performed standing. Especially tasks that require precision and concentration lend themselves perfectly to sitting down. If you have work consultations with a colleague, standing is ideal.
You can also alternate standing and sitting by using a high (saddle) stool to relieve your legs and back. By regularly changing your posture during the working day, you stimulate blood circulation and prevent physical complaints.
Getting up with the sit/stand coach
We have developed special break software to help you remember to take regular breaks from work. The R-Go Break sit/stand coach controls your electric desk from sitting to standing or a height in between (for use of a standing stool or desk bike). This is done based on actual screen use.
The standard break times in the R-Go Break software are set according to the Dutch Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines and on the advice of ergonomic experts: 30 seconds break after every 10 minutes of work, 5 minutes break after every hour with a daily limit of 6 hours of screen work.
You can personalise your breaks by, for example, setting a reminder when it is time for a cup of tea or raising or lowering your desk to your chosen working height. This way, you make optimal use of your high/low desk and stay fit during your working day.