By John Arenas | February 3, 2014

Your Office May Be Killing You

With workers spending a greater number of hours in their chairs, companies are envisioning new workstations to instill healthier habits in the workplace.

We already know that an ergonomic workstation can minimize the pain and risk of injuries to the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and back that comes with desk jobs. But even in the proper position, our bodies are not designed to sit still for long periods of time.

Research has found that Americans spend up to 13 hours a day sitting down and 21 out of every 24 hours sedentary (sitting, sleeping, watching TV, driving). These numbers correlate with a greater chance of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Moreover, studies show that if people sat for three fewer hours per day, their life expectancy would increase by two years. And companies are beginning to take notice.

In the last year, we’ve seen more and more companies start to design workstations that will get workers up and moving. Steelcase, known for its innovative office furnishings, is swapping sit-down desks for the standing Walkstation model, which allows employees to walk at a speed of 2 mph while working at the computer. Even at a relatively slow pace, the extra physical activity boosts energy and serotonin and burns calories, which users can track along with distance and time on the center console. Biggest perk: The sit-to-walk version of Walkstation gives users a seated desk option and a larger work surface that is suited to small meetings as well.

On the other end of the spectrum, Technogym, which specializes in fitness equipment, has breached the work environment with the newest iteration of its Artis treadmill. The machine can be made-to-order with the Android-based center console, Unity, which allows users to track fitness data and access email, social media, and web sites through multiple browsers. Biggest perk: Unity can sync with Google Glass to enable users to make adjustments to speed and incline, media, and work by voice recognition.

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