Building an Active Workstation

| February 7, 2018

Most of business is done at a desk.  Several years ago, medical research began to accumulate and make its way into the mainstream about the health dangers of inactivity, coalescing in the tag line “Sitting Is the New Smoking.”  A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a substantial array of physical and mental illnesses.

This has in turn lead to the concept of an “Active Workstation” – an office designed to minimize physical inactivity, and establish healthier habits at work. Products now abound in moving from the static to the active work space.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but an Active and Healthy Workstation starts with a good chair. No matter how active you might want your workstation to be, you will still be sitting a substantial part of the time.  A good chair mimics the movements of your body to provide support and balance. The gold standard is the Freedom Chair although it is expensive. Try before you buy one of these.

Next, consider a standing desk.  There are now many on the market.  Avoid makeshift self-help (like your laptop propped up on milk cartons) and invest in something substantial.  One overlooked advantage of a standing desk is the increased work space it provides.  When you are standing, you can find work space at different levels of height, all easily accessible.  Varidesk has good options.

Also available are “Sit-Stand” desks that quickly adjust to allow you to stand most of the day, but sit if you want to take a break.  Some people will follow a set and timed schedule (many suggest a 50 minutes stand, 20 minutes sit routine), but for most, the normal flow of the workday will break up your times of standing and sitting.

If you are going to be standing most of the day, also get a good mat to stand on.  It will take the strain off of your legs, and is an essential if you are going to be standing at your desk; this is unless …

You may want to be moving while you are standing.  In that case, there are generally two options.

There are Treadmill Desks that allow you to be walking slowly while on your keyboard or talking on the telephone.

If you don’t want to be constantly walking, or if you don’t have the room or the budget for a treadmill desk, a very good option is a “balance board” and the Fluidstance Level. This devise allows your constant movement and ongoing exercise throughout the day.  You can balance on it, or wobble back and forth, or stand with one edge on the floor and the other up in the air, one knee bent, the other straight.  Alternating these will give you exercise you can feel, movement you can enjoy, and a way to change positions that makes standing much more pleasant.

Finally, keep a bottle of water at your desk, and drink from it liberally.  Include an apple or other fruit, and some protein mid-way through the day.

An Active Workstation is not a substitute for healthy exercise and a good diet.  But it is a positive addition to a wholesome lifestyle, turning what could be the sedentary workday into the physical activity that can be an outlet for stress plus the moderate ongoing exercise that benefits both your physical and mental health.  Small changes that become good habits can return real results.

The Apostle John opened his letter to Gaius, praying that he will prosper and “be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).  So may it be as we pursue physical, mental, and spiritual wellness, to the Glory of the Lord.

Category: Lifestyle