We sit a lot... Everyone knows that we spend a large part of the day sitting. Did you know that the Netherlands is an European champion of sitting? 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 work from home en masse, it appears that the number of sitting hours has even increased.
Effect of prolonged sitting
What effect does prolonged sitting have on your body?
Your muscles (especially large muscles such as leg muscles) are inactive while sitting, this slows down the blood circulation in the body. This can lead to fluid retention, varicose veins, reduced metabolism and ultimately cardiovascular disease. Blood sugar levels can also be disturbed, which can result in obesity and diabetes. Sitting for long periods of time also puts a strain on the back. Sitting increases the pressure on the intervertebral discs, which can lead to back problems.
Should we all work standing up?
The less we sit, the better. So should we all work standing up?
Standing has a number of advantages over sitting. When working in a standing position, the blood sugar level after a meal drops faster than when working in a sitting position. Standing also reduces the risk of back and shoulder complaints. For this reason, countless sit-stand tables have made their appearance in 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 can cause leg and foot fatigue, varicose veins and back and neck pain. It is not for nothing that the Dutch Health and Safety at Work Act has a guideline for standing work, advising not to work standing up for more than 1 hour in a row and to avoid working standing up for more than 4 hours in a day.
Standing can be seen as a good alternative to sitting.
A good standing posture
Practice shows that we often stand in the wrong position. An unfavourable standing position, such as hanging on one leg, leaning on the table, wearing high heels or standing bent over, increases the risk of strain on muscles and joints.
You have probably received sitting instructions for adjusting your office chair. By now, we know quite a lot about ergonomic sitting and a healthy working posture. However does this also apply to healthy standing?
It is important to adopt a good posture when working in a standing position. It is advised to place your feet firmly on the floor with your knees slightly bent (not locked). Tense your buttocks and abdominal muscles. By moving your legs from time to time, you ensure that the blood circulation in the body is maintained. You should also pay attention to the height of your desktop. For monitor work, it is important to place the desktop at elbow height. Make sure that your shoulders hang down, while your forearms rest on the desktop.
Alternation prevents complaints
The choice of whether you work sitting down or standing up depends on the type of work you do. Not all tasks can easily be carried out in a standing position. In particular, tasks which require you to be precise and concentrated are perfectly suited to sedentary work. If you are holding a meeting with a colleague, standing is a better choice.
You can also alternate standing and sitting with the use of a high (saddle) stool in order to relieve your legs and back. By regularly changing your posture during the working day, you stimulate the blood circulation and prevent physical complaints.
Get up with the Sit/stand coach
We have developed special break software that helps 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 on the basis of actual screen use. The standard break times in the R-Go Break software are set according to the Dutch Health and Safety at Work Act guidelines and on the advice of ergonomic experts: 30 seconds break after every 10 minutes work, 5 minutes break after every hour with a daily limit of 6 hours screen work. You can personalise your breaks by, for example, setting a reminder when it's time for a cup of tea or raising or lowering your desk to the working height of your choice. This way, you make optimal use of your high/low desk and stay fit during your working day.