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New, healthy options to decrease extended sitting time

Employees in Pennsylvania and across the country are spending the majority of their days sitting. To combat this burgeoning trend, a company called Lifespan Work Solutions is innovating solutions for a healthy workplace. They incorporate furnishings that encourage office-bound employees to exercise as they work, reducing the risk of workplace illness and promoting overall wellness among employees.

Studies reveal that the average American worker sits for up to 11 hours a day. For many workers, cramped cubicles mean that in order to complete the task assigned to them, they must stay in a sitting position for most of those 11 hours at their work desk. Now, some employers are trying to incorporate features into those workplaces that make getting staying healthy while working easier. Devices such as the "standing desk" encourage employees to stand as they work on computer terminals, which engages the leg and core muscles.

The newest twist in this trend is to place a computer terminal on top of a modified treadmill, which gives employees the opportunity to get a healthy cardiovascular workout while they work. The health benefits from these devices include a lowered risk for diabetes and stroke as well as lowered blood pressure. Walking can improve mood, boosting feel-good chemicals in the brain, and the burning of extra calories can help employees achieve their weight loss goals.

The health benefits that accompany walking at work translates into benefits for employers as well. Healthy and happy employees are likely to take less sick days, resulting in increased productivity. The mood spikes that come with a regular cardio workout can lead to increased energy and improved engagement with coworkers. Employers have worked over the past decades to incorporate ergonomic work spaces and furnishings, which decrease the rate of injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Healthy office design can help curb the rate of workplace illness and injury, which leads to an improved work space for both employers and employees. Injuries and illnesses on the job can still happen, however. Employees who are injured or become sick due to their job may seek assistance from a workers' compensation lawyer, who may be able to assist in explaining the laws and seeking compensation.

Source: Forbes, "Walking while you work," Robert Glatter, April 2, 2013

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