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Reducing Health Risks in the Workroom

Today’s modern world has created a work environment where sitting is considered a health risk. According to health experts, the sedentary life of most office workers increased the chances of serious diseases, especially to those in the work force.

Many companies have tried to combat this unhealthy phenomenon. Some offices, like 6S, a Vancouver digital marketing firm, installed treadmill desks to encourage body movement while keeping the business going.

Studies have shown that an increasing number of workers in North America are countering this sedentary work mode through a variety of exercises. These include treadmill desks, moving workstations, riding a bike to work, or even just standing while working. 

Courtesy Salo LLC

The popularity of treadmill desks has reduced 350 calories for each three miles walked on the fitness device every day for each worker. Similar to the usual gym treadmills, desk versions are set only to around one to two miles per hour, not too fast to distract employees from work but enough to keep the heart rate up. Dr James Levine, the Mayo Clinic’s resident endocrinologist, said that even going to the gym won’t be enough to offset the harm dealt by regularly being sedentary. To most companies, eliminating the whole eight hours of sitting thing is the only solution.

In 6S’s office, these treadmill desks are located on a separate room where employees can book similar to meeting rooms. Those who feel like they need to spend some time away from their chairs but still remain productive would be able to do so after filing a reservation.

Pregnant workers gain a little bit more from these installations. “Being able to have that range of motion without having to get up and leave your desk constantly has been a huge help,” said Alex Morrison, an employee of 6S who is expecting a child.

Although more in-depth studies are yet to be conducted regarding the true effectiveness of treadmill desks, industry experts recommend anything but staying seated for hours on end daily. Aside from standing and treadmills, there are plenty of other ways to combat deskbound working.

In fact, having a break and walking a few minutes away from the desk is a great way to break the tedium of work. According to physiotherapist Stacy Benmore, the body responds well to sudden interruptions of sitting and that eliminates many risks involved in sedentary living such as soreness, stiffness of the back, and back pains.

As to the future of the workplace in general, Dr. John Carsley of Vancouver Coastal Health has this to say: “I think as time goes on we’re going to see the price of those things go down…in a few years a standard part of every office desk is adjustability.”

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