11 Sep 2015

To stand or not to stand, that is the question

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What is the osteopathic take on the relatively new advice to stand whilst working in the office? Recent research suggests that prolonged sitting, the default position for most of the office workforce, takes years off your life and adds pound to your posterior. So has the time come for a radical rethink and redesign of office desks and chairs?

At northlondonosteopaths.co.uk, Alan Nevies and his colleagues have given some thought to this question. Osteopathy focuses on achieving the correct balance of the muscular skeletal system and this is very connected to correct posture and position at any given time. The starting premise is that variety may be the key to finding the perfect position for the working day. Too much sitting may cause an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular events, and this also applies to people who do exercise regularly but then sit for long periods. The “Start Active Stay Active” report recommends breaking up long periods of sitting time with shorter bouts of activity for just one to two minutes and taking an active break from sitting every thirty minutes. The current thinking according to Professor Stuart Biddle is that “all day movement is seen as being just as important for the maintenance of good health as traditional exercise.

In response to these discoveries, the office, previously a very sedentary environment has seen the introduction of ActiveDesking, whereby a desk is arranged so that it provides a comfortable work station for both sitting and standing. At northlondonosteopaths we welcome this adaptation of the classic office arrangement. When one stands there is less pressure on the discs of the lumbar spine and adopting this position may help with back problems that currently account for most days off work due to sickness. However, Alan Nevies and his colleagues believe that appropriate footwear for increased standing, correct postural position for standing and last but by no means least strong core muscles are absolutely vital if the change from sitting to standing whilst working is to be of benefit.

At northlondonosteopaths Alan Nevies and associates are happy to advise you on all of these matters.