In the last blog, we mentioned NIOSH has just begun a 12 month sit/stand workstation pilot program. While we await the program results, consider the following:
To be successful at any endeavor you must practice, practice, practice. Training yourself to work at a sit/stand station can be as important as training for a race. Your body has adapted to sitting for the majority of the day, five days a week. The large muscles in the lower extremities are quiet; the chair is doing all the work. It could take up to three weeks to transition to a sit/stand workstation. During that period you will have to listen to your body as it adjusts to a new posture.
It’s likely that success at your sit/stand station will depend on your patience and awareness of what is going on inside you physiologically. You will need to relearn what posture you are comfortable in while standing. Your body will also tell you when to switch positions, when to stretch, and when to sit down. You will burn twice the calories standing as compared to sitting. Two to three days into the transition you may feel tired with a loss of energy. You’re using more fuel and your body is trying to catch up.
Start by standing for a couple of hours each day for a few days and then gradually increase your standing time. If your back or your feet begin to hurt, decrease your standing time for a while and then increase it again in a few days. Remember, your body is changing and needs time to adapt.
Most likely you will experience some foot discomfort until your feet adapt to the standing posture and pressures. Consider good quality shoes with firm heel counter and arch support. Fashionable shoes that sacrifice comfort will not be your friend at the sit/stand work station. Be consistent with your footwear. Heel height and arch support should be similar each day. Laced shoes should be moderately snug but not too tight. An anti-fatigue mat can also be helpful.
Using a short stool or box as a foot rest will help with foot fatigue. The stool will allow you to move your weight from one foot to the other for short periods of time.
Additionally, for MEMIC policyholders, consider registering for our March 28 webinar “The Benefits of Sit and Stand Workstations”. Finally, the following sites may be helpful as you search for the best solution for your sit/stand workstation needs: