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Study finds ideal sit-to-stand ratio for employees

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A new laboratory-controlled study, funded by office furniture designer and manufacturer Teknion Corporation (Teknion), has found that employees who change positions throughout the workday are less likely to develop lower-back pain, cardiovascular disease and cancer than their less mobile co-workers. Teknion came to these conclusions based on research of sit-stand workstations and their health benefits.

During testing, individuals were observed over four-hour time frames while working at a sit-to-stand desk. Test subjects had their thighs, feet, pelvises, spines, bodies and heads equipped with infrared light-emitting diodes (IREDs) and electrodes to record posture, movements and muscle activity.

“By combining data from the IREDs and electrodes, our computer can build our subject’s skeleton as it moves in three-dimensional space,” says Jack Callaghan, kinesiologist, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Spine Biomechanics and Injury Prevention, Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo. “There are subjective scores, so we know when an individual reports feeling clinically relevant pain. Then we can look back at the measurements and see what was driving that pain: Was it due to increased muscle activity or was it posturally driven?”

Through their research, Dr. Callaghan and Teknion determined that employees working eight-hour days should sit for two hours and stand for six. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Council of Ontario does not recommend standing for more than four hours and another study found that standing for more than one hour could pose health risks.

Teknion’s Livello Counterbalance workstation table was designed to meet the needs of today’s eight-hour workday office employee. The tables promote user comfort by encouraging movement and proper standing posture. They are height-adjustable and mobile.

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