Apple Watch Lets You Know It's Time to Stand

The Apple Watch, one of Apple’s most recent products, has numerous functions from calling to texting to directions. One cool new feature it has is the health and fitness Activity App, which measures all the ways you move. Not only does it track all your movements, but it also encourages you to keep moving with notifications. The interface of the Activity App is set up in rings, with the goal being to complete each of the 3 rings (Move, Exercise, and Stand) each day.

Photo from Apple.com

The Stand ring wants to put distance between you and the chair. To do this it shows how often you stand up to take a break from sitting. To help minimize sitting time, the watch senses when you move and gives you credit for doing so. If you sit for almost an hour, it reminds you to get up. In order to complete the Stand ring you must stand up and move for a little at least one minute in each of the 12 hours during the day.

Photo from Apple.com

If you do not have an Apple Watch don’t fret! Red Davis and Hector Simpson, fans of the Apple Watch’s reminder to stand up every hour, created “Stand,” a new app for Mac. This new app has the same goal as the Apple Watch Activity App: to get you to stand up every hour.

Photo from Businessinsider.com

The “Stand” app has a simple, user-friendly interface. You choose the time in the hour that you want to be notified to stand and the app appears at that time with the notification “Time to stand up!” It is a pretty basic app, but the benefits of using it are huge if it accomplishes its goal of getting you to move around every hour.

Although we think both of these are great accessories, it is very difficult to meet your standing goals if you work at a desk job and don’t have a standing desk. Many people are concerned about the cost of a standing desk, but there are some beautiful, very affordable models at www.standeeco.com. We are adding a super affordable electronic sit-stand desk to our product lineup in the next couple of weeks, which will make these new Activity Apps even more useful.

Great Video Spreading Awareness of the Dangers of Sitting—Part II

In our last blog we introduced you to a great video explaining the dangers of sitting. In today’s blog we’ll tell you about a second video that we also think is well worth your time.

Video 2: Are You Sitting Too Much?

Video Time: 3:02 min.

Views: 2,456,717

 

The popular Youtube channel AsapSCIENCE created this viral video using whiteboard marker animation. The video is more concise than the video we mentioned in our last blog but contains an equal amount of useful information. Here are a few of the key points from the video:

  • As soon as you sit down the electrical activity in your muscles drops significantly and your calorie-burning rate plummets to about 1 calorie per minute.
  • After only 3 hours of sitting, there is a 50% drop in artery dilation and a resultant decrease in blood flow.
  • Sit for 24 hours straight, and the insulin in your body loses nearly 40% of its ability to uptake glucose, which increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  • After 2 weeks of sitting for more than 6 hours a day, LDL cholesterol, sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol, is increased, along with other fatty molecules, putting you at a greater risk for weight gain.
  • Because of prolonged inactivity, your muscles begin to break down. Gradually, their contractions become weaker, ultimately impeding the pumping of blood to the heart.
  • Even if you work out regularly, the minute you stop moving the deterioration begins again, in proportion to your sitting time.
  • That’s the scary part; research shows that just as exercise doesn’t necessarily counteract the negative effects of something like smoking, it doesn’t counteract the negative effects of too much sitting.
  • Some studies in women have even shown a decrease in bone mass upwards of 1% every year.
  • Perhaps most shocking is that after 10-20 years of sitting for 6 hours a day, you may have lost up to 7 quality-adjusted life years—that is, years without medical issues or death.
  • The risk of dying from heart disease increases by 64% while the risk of prostate or breast cancer increases by 30% (based on above stat).
  • Simply put, our bodies aren’t designed to be sedentary.

I urge you to take a moment to watch these videos to be informed on the detrimental effects sitting imposes on your body. If you are moved by the information, share these videos with friends and most importantly start moving! If a standing desk is the solution for you or if you want to learn more about standing desks as a solution, visit our store and check out some of the affordable natural add-on podiums like the Standee Classic and Standee Classic XL.

Great Video Spreading Awareness of the Dangers of Sitting—Part I

I stumbled across two videos that did a great job explaining the dangers of sitting. This blog will highlight the first video, and our next blog will do the same for the second video. 

Video 1: Why Sitting is Bad for You

Viewing Time: 5:05 min.

Views: 974,462

This awesome video is part of the TedEd Lessons Worth Sharing series. In the video Murat Dalkilinc investigates the hidden risks of sitting down. Not only is the video animation engaging but also the video is really educational and covers a lot of points that have not been mentioned in other articles and media coverage. It’s only five minutes of your time and definitely well worth the watch. Here are a few of the key points from the video:

 

  • The longer you stay put, the more agitated your body becomes. It sits there counting down the moments until you stand up again and take it for a walk.
  • The human body is built to move, and you can see evidence of that in the way it’s structured. Inside us are over 360 joints and about 700 skeletal muscles that enable easy, fluid motion.
  • Our body depends on us moving around to be able to circulate properly. Our nerve cells benefit from movement, and our skin is elastic, meaning it molds to our motions.
  • A common way of sitting is with a curved back and slumped shoulders, a position that puts uneven pressure on your spine. Over time, this causes wear and tear in your spinal discs, overworks certain ligaments and joints, and puts strain on muscles that stretch to accommodate your back’s curved position.
  • Sitting for long periods also temporarily deactivates lipoprotein lipase, a special enzyme in the walls of blood capillaries that breaks down fats in the blood, so when you sit you’re not burning fat nearly as well as when you move around.
  • Being stationary reduces blood flow and the amount of oxygen entering your blood stream through your lungs. Your brain requires both of those things to remain alert, so your concentration levels will most likely dip as your brain activity slows.
  • Researchers have worked out that, worldwide, inactivity causes about 9% of premature deaths a year. That’s over 5 million people.
  • So what seems like such a harmless habit actually has the power to change our health.

One of the shortcomings of the video is it doesn’t cover practical solutions that can help people avoid prolonged periods of sitting. Standee Co. offers some great, in expensive solutions including stand-up desks and anti-fatigue mats.

Growing Presense of Stand-up Desks in Classrooms

Although a major focus of the standing desk community has been the adoption of the stand-up workstations at offices and workplaces (due to the higher age range), there has been a movement towards putting stand-up desks in classrooms as well. The reasoning: if stand-up desks increase alertness, engagement, and productivity in offices, shouldn’t they do the same in classrooms?

standing workstations at school prevents disruptive behavior - Teacher with student at standup desk

A recent study from the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health deduces that “standing workstations reduce disruptive behavior problems and increase students’ attention or academic behavioral engagement by providing students with a different method for completing academic tasks (like standing) that breaks up the monotony of seated work.” The study, published in the International Journal of Health Promotion, involved almost 300 children in second through fourth grade who were observed over the course of a school year. Preliminary results show 12 percent greater on-task engagement in classrooms with standing desks, which is equivalent to an extra seven minutes per hour of engaged instruction time. Furthermore, previous studies at Texas A&M have shown that the desks can help reduce obesity, with students using standing desks burning 15 percent more calories than students at traditional desks (25 percent for obese children).

Since the studies have been published, there has been a movement of schools actually bringing in stand up desks to their classrooms. Crossfit’s Kelly Starrett, with help from DonorsChoose, is pioneering a new classroom style that’s improving students’ health and focus. In particular, by the beginning of the school year next August, there will be no chairs in any of the classrooms at Vallecito Elementary in San Rafael, California. This drastic change is based on the basic facts that many kids are sedentary as much as 80 to 90 percent of the time they’re awake, and over a lifetime, sitting for more than six hours a day increases the risk of death. Currently the school is raising funds for the new desks, and the Starretts have launched a nonprofit called StandUpKids to help spur the change in other schools. The couple hopes to raise a $1 million matching grant to support donations for individual schools across the country. The website StandUpKids.org walks you through the science behind the benefits of standing desks for students and also makes a case for people to support these programs. In 10 years, the Starretts hope that every public school in the U.S. is standing.

Another effort to bring desks into schools, although on a much smaller scale, involves three senior high school students bringing desks to a nearby elementary school. The three started “Stand Up Batavia,” a community service project to bring standing workstations into Batavia Elementary School. To start off, they hope to bring 18 desks (accompanied by stools) into three fourth grade classrooms. They hope to raise the $11,520 needed by the end of the year.

As there is a growing number of standing workstations in offices, there will be a subsequent increase in the number of workstations in classrooms as parents realize the great benefits from standing at work throughout the day. Also, the publishing of more studies regarding the effects of standing in the classroom on children will further push the concerned parent to make sure a change is made in their childrens’ classroom. A perfect workstation for your child to make the transition to standing at home or in the classroom is the Standee Classic. Schools and parents should also consider an ant-fatigue mat like the Standee Anti-Fatigue Mat to ensure comfort while the children stand. It will take a mass movement for the Starretts to achieve their goal of every public school in U.S. standing in the next 10 years, but it surely can be done. Does your child’s school have any stand up workstations? After reading this blog would you like them to? Give your child’s school a call and find out. It might be the best thing you can do for your child’s health, not to mention their academic performance.

Great Britain in the Vertical World War

             In the midst of the Vertical Revolution, Americans across the country are using the health risks of sitting as the main ammunition to take over sedentary lifestyles. However, in reality, it should be termed the Vertical World War because the U.S. is not alone in this fight. Many other countries like Australia and Britain are taking a stand as well and urging the many citizens to follow suit. Great Britain, specifically, has a very useful website, GetBritainStanding.org, for anyone in the world considering making the switch to a sit-stand station.

 

            GetBritainStanding.org has rich content on the many aspects of sedentary work environments. The content helps to inform people of the health risks associated with sitting as well as offer solutions to employers and employees. Under the health risks tab, “The Sitting Problem,” is presented along with the top 10 health risks and the research that has been done thus far.  Furthermore, there is a tab for their "Active Working” campaign that has many resources for educating companies on the productivity, engagement, and reduced absenteeism benefits of Active Working. 

 

            Two tabs on GetBritainStanding.org I would like to highlight as being very useful are the “Employers” and “Solutions” tabs. The section for employers has a comprehensive review of everything one needs to know to convert his or her office from a sedentary to an active work environment. This tab also includes key information for employers, the costs of sitting, regulations, and other necessary parts for an employer to consider. It also has a link to reserve a spot at the annual Active Working Summit, where companies are educated on the many benefits of active working. The “Solutions” tab is also significant because it offers many sit-stand solutions with desktop risers similar to the Standee Classic, help with getting started, as well as discount vouchers. Moreover, in this tab there is a section for one to post and read stories and experiences regarding the switching to a sit-stand station as well as Q & A.  

 

            One of the unique features on this site is the “Sitting Calculator” which is conveniently placed directly on the homepage. This calculator allows you to determine your risk level based on your sitting time. To do this, the calculator asks you to estimate the time you spend sitting daily while you eat, commute, work, and relax. After estimating the amount of time in each of these areas, you hit calculate and see your risk level which ranges from “low” to “very high.” Next time you get a chance, go on to GetBritainStanding.org and check out your risk level, it may motivate you to start standing today!

            GetBritainStanding.org does a great job at including the necessary information one needs if they are considering switching to an active work environment. Although many of the statistics displayed on the site such as “British people sit for 8.9 hours each day (on average)” are directed towards the British, all of the information regarding the health risks and transition to standing is universal and should be brought to the attention people around the world that are making, or considering to make, the change. Check it out now. 

10 Office Exercises You Can Do at Work

The main idea behind an active work environment is to avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time.  Therefore, if you sit at a desk for the majority of the day, there are many exercises that you can do to disrupt your time sitting.

 

There are many ways to avoid sitting all day such as using a stand up desk like the Standee Classic or simply getting out of your chair and doing a few exercises.  If you are creative, the office provides a perfect place to get in a quick workout.

 

There are multiple office exercises that you can find with a simple Google search, but which ones make the most sense? Here are 10 of my favorites:

 

1. Tricep Desk Dips

Place your butt on the edge of your desk, and then place your palms on the edge of the desk on either side of you. Keeping your feet together, bend at the elbows and slide forward off the desk and dip down a few inches, and then push back up. Dip to where your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Do this 20 times. For a variation, put your feet on a chair.

 

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/efkk45efdje/tricep-desk-dips-2/

 

2. Carpal Tunnel Reliever 

You shouldn’t suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome if you do this exercise daily. Stand at your desk, and with arms straight, place your palms on the desk with your fingers pointed toward you. Lower your body slowly until you feel the stretch. Do for 15 seconds. Repeat as needed through the day.

 

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/efkk45efdje/carpal-tunnel-reliever-2/

 

3. Water Bottle Workouts

As most offices don’t have workout equipment, a full water bottle can work as the perfect light dumbbell.

 

Sit tall with abs pulled in. Hold water bottle in right hand and curl it up towards your shoulder. Repeat 15 times. Change arms.

 

You can also use your water bottle to do front arm raises and overhead presses.

Hold your water bottle in right hand. Bend elbow. Extend arm overhead. Repeat on other side.

 

Water bottle twists are a great way to work your waistline.

Hold water bottle at chest level. Twist to the right as far as you can. Twist back to center. Twist to the left. Repeat 10 times. 

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/exercise-at-work/10-office-exercises-you-can-do-secretly.htm#page=7

 

 

4. The Wall (Street) Sit

Wall sits are great for building strength and endurance. Standing with your back against the wall, bend the knees and slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit and hold for 30-60 second.

 

http://greatist.com/fitness/deskercise-33-ways-exercise-work

 

5. The Seated Leg Raiser

This incognito stretch will allow you to get in a good stretch without having all your co-workers notice. While seated, straighten one or both legs and hold in place for five or more seconds. Then lower your leg(s) back to the ground without letting your feet touch the floor. Repeat (alternating legs if raising them separately) for 15 reps. You can also put a purse or briefcase strap over your ankle for added weight, or for more of an abs workout, add a crunch.

 

http://greatist.com/fitness/deskercise-33-ways-exercise-work

 

6. The Knuckle Sandwich

For a great arm workout, try shadow boxing. Stand (if you can) and throw out a few jabs, hooks, and uppercuts in rapid succession. Continue for a minute or longer to blow off steam and tone the arms, chest, and core.

 

http://greatist.com/fitness/deskercise-33-ways-exercise-work

 

7. The Hulk

Walk in place and lean forward. With your elbows bent and fists together in front, move your arms like wings. Try to touch your shoulder blades together. 20 reps.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/health/workout-at-work/

 

8. Walking

Lap your block or a floor of your office. Try for a pace of 100 steps per minute, which is an easy pace to maintain around the office.  Walk for 10 min.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/health/workout-at-work/

 

9. Take the Stairs. While You're At It, Run Up Them

Instead of using the elevator to move between floors, take the stairs. Start off walking, but work your way up to a full out sprint. This is a great way to get an intense leg workout while at the office.

 

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/07/24/desk-jockey-workout/

 

10. Get a Standing Desk

One of the best things you can do to combat the health risk from sitting is to get a standing desk. The negative health effects on your weight and health, including hip and back stiffness and pain, that come from sitting down all day will disappear. You can even lean against your standing desk while you are working and do simple calf stretches.

 

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/07/24/desk-jockey-workout/