Sitting is more dangerous than smoking… is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.
— Dr. James Levine, Director of the Mayo Clinic-ASU Obesity Solutions Initiative
More than half of the American population suffers from chronic or recurring pain, and the leading expressions of this discomfort are headache and back and neck pain. Correspondingly, the way we spend the majority of our day — at work, sedentary, hunching, slouching, and working longer-than-ever hours in one-size-fits-all chairs — is known to lead to posture disorder, a major contributor to pain and fatigue. These conditions in turn result in a dramatically increased risk of serious illness.
Improper seating adds up to suboptimal employee health, pain and fatigue and a dissatisfied workforce, resulting in decreased productivity. Common pain conditions in the US Workforce costs companies over $60 billion dollars a year, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, with back pain alone in workers 40 – 65 years of age costing over $7 billion dollars a year. Employer-sponsored gym membership discounts and company-organized walking clubs aren’t enough to counteract this threat.
“Employers are recognizing that good health is a total business issue, and a lack of it affects workforce performance. Most now point to establishing a culture of health as their top priority and an essential factor for success.”
— Willis Towers Watson
Because exercise alone doesn’t provide an antidote to the troubling impact of a sedentary workday, effective employee wellness programs include ways to make desk-based and seated time-on-task more supportive of overall health. Addressing seating as a part of your workplace wellness program improves your bottom line and expands worker contentment and productivity. Forward-thinking employers including tech giants Google and Microsoft and Fortune Global 500 leaders such as Accenture and Johnson & Johnson have prioritized the five basic tenets of workplace wellness:
• Provide employees with practical and accessible programs
• Have a health-conscious work environment
• Integrate wellness into the company structure
• Link wellness to existing support programs
• Offer health screenings and education
Companies that invest in wellness programs, including the intentional design of health-supporting physical workspaces with furniture such as Muuv, see lower costs for sick leave, worker’s comp, and disability as well as slower growth of health care expenses year-over-year. Employees working for companies with wellness programs report improved fitness, overall health and well-being, and 67% of employees say that participation in a wellness program increases their engagement in their employer’s mission and goals.
Muuv reflects a modern approach to physical ergonomics, the interaction between the human body and the environment in which it is working, by acknowledging the role of mobility in healthy sitting. Rather than creating static, awkward postures as traditional chairs do, Muuv stabilizes your body, allowing for free and safe movement and positive, neutral spinal alignment. Termed “Dynamic Ergonomics”; Muuv’s dynamism creates an environment that meets your body’s needs for optimal health and wellbeing.
Below are some additional tips for sitting smarter:
- Proper alignment while sitting is ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips higher than knees and both feet flat on the floor or footrest.
- Distribute body weight evenly on both hips.
- Legs should not be crossed.
- When you reach, bend, twist or transition to standing, hold your stomach in and think of elongating your torso.
- When working on desk tasks, your elbows should be slightly in front of your ribs, your arms parallel to the floor, and you should have support at your forearms and palms.
- Adjust your arm pads, armrests and back support to accommodate the variety of activities you initiate each day, such as phone calls, computer-based writing and research, one-on-one conversations, and meetings.
- Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 20 minutes; in any half hour of work, strive for a ratio of 20:8:2 (20 seated minutes, 8 standing minutes, and 2 minutes of moving activity).
- Turn up your NEAT! Raise and lower your heels, perform small pelvic tilts and abdominal crunches, flex and extend your wrists, roll your shoulders and stretch your neck. Every bit of activity helps fuel a healthy metabolism, increase blood oxygenation and sustain energy flow.
Sources: “5 Hallmarks of Successful Corporate Wellness Programs”, Fortune, April 14, 2015. “Healthy Workstation Guidelines”, Humanscale. MacVean, Mary, “’Get Up!’ Or Lose Hours Of Your Life Every Day, Scientist Says”, LA Times, July 24, 2014. Pos- ture for a Healthy Back, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation.  Graham Colditz, Daniela Schmid, “Sedentary Behavior Increases the Risk of Certain Cancers”, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 14, 2014.  Alpa V. Patel et al, “Leisure Time Spent Sitting in Relation to Total Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults”, American Journal of Epidemiology, July 10, 2010.  The Cost of Pain to Business and Society Due to Ineffective Pain Care, The American Academy of Pain Medicine  The Wellness Effect: The Impact of Workplace Programs, Humana, October 2015