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Health Check

Posted on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm

We walked into an office last week in Calhoun Georgia and the lady was working at her computer, standing on a treadmill. She says she uses it some each day as she is working! I was so amazed as I’d not seen anything like that before.

Then today as I was preparing to write this column, I needed to verify a statistic. The first Internet source I looked at showed a picture of a room with 4 treadmills pointed together, each with a computer on the stand! Two people were working! And obviously when the picture was taken, they were walking as they worked.

So perhaps this is more normal than I had imagined! I did a little more searching and found that studies reporting the benefits of standing have been published for years. Oh dear, I guess I’ve been under a rock! I found this so interesting though that I changed my topic for today’s column!

Australia’s exercise guidelines have already been overhauled to include some ‘stand time.’ Along this line, an August survey by the National Business Group on Health found that 61% of firms reported wellness programs to be one of the three most effective tools to keep health care costs down. So if that means providing treadmills in offices, then yea for them! The goal is for employees to be healthier and have less hospital admissions, shorter hospital stays, and lower overall costs.

So here are some tips for sitting less and standing or walking more. At work, encourage standing or walking meetings. If this doesn’t work, see if you can get your co-workers to include a standing break, or ‘standing agenda’ item.

Stand up when using the phone, or when reading emails, documents or reports. Set up printers, trash cans, drawers, and other things you may need during your workday, away from your desk so you need to get out of your chair more often. Walk to your co-worker to talk to them instead of using email. Set yourself a reminder on your computer to stand up regularly.

Make it a habit to drink more water throughout the day. You’ll have to move to get your regular glasses of water and their effect on your bladder will mean you’ll take more regular trips to the rest room. Break for lunch and get out, even if it’s just a ten-minute walk. Park your car away from the office door.

At home, stand up and walk around when using your phone. When watching TV, stand and do household chores, such as folding clothes. Put your remote control away so you are forced to get up to use manual controls. Stand when catching up on news from your children and spouse. Walk out to check the mail rather than stopping by the mailbox when you pull into the driveway.

Commit to standing while you work for at least 30 minutes each day this week.

Choose Health!