With type 2 diabetes rates increasing each year, British researchers are looking for ways to revolutionise office working practices in a bid to stem the rises in incidence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
A number of recent research studies have highlighted the dangers to health posed by prolonged periods of sitting each day. Prolonged sitting is a national problem with recent surveys showing that many of us spend around 19 hours a day either sitting or lying down.
Of the ideas being put forwards to tackle the issue, the sit-stand desk is one of the most feasible options. Sit-stand desks, which are already in use at Google’s London offices, can be easily adjusted in height for either sitting or standing use. The idea of encouraging breaks in sitting is not entirely new and, in Denmark, employers must offer their staff the chance to use sit-stand desks.
Taking things literally a number of steps further are active desks in which laptops are mounted upon treadmills, allowing workers to keep a gradual walking pace of 1 mph whilst going about normal computer based office tasks. Researchers at Loughborough University are studying the use of treadmills as a viable option for offices. Whilst the thought of walking whilst typing may seem awkward upon first thought, many of us are able to adapt well.
It is not only offices in which the option of standing more is being introduced. The Born in Bradford research study, which is a collaboration between the NHS and researchers from a number of Yorkshire Universities, is trialling the use of sit-stand desk in the classrooms of Bradford’s Grove House Primary School.
Principal Research Fellow of the Project, Dr Sally Barber notes that periods of standing between periods of sitting can increase the number of calories burned, improve fitness levels and could enhance concentration as well decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes later in life as well.

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