Ergonomics / Physical Activity
The resources below provide some tools for evaluating
and improving ergonomics for a work station. However ergonomics alone will not
address the serious consequences of prolonged sitting.
There is a growing body of research indicating that prolonged sitting
not only increases work stress, but also has other health
consequences. Extensive sitting is also associated with a higher risk of heart
disease, diabetes, cancer and death.
For example, sitting for more than one
hour has been shown to induce biochemical changes in lipase activity (an enzyme
involved in fat metabolism) and in glucose metabolism, that leads to the deposit
of fats in adipose tissue rather than these being metabolized by muscle. A
recent study suggests an association between sitting time (number of hours sitting at
work per day) and neck-shoulder pain. Current
research recommends that workers who are sedentary most of the day stand
up and move around for short stretch break every 20 minutes. Having multiple
short breaks reduces the consequences of prolonged sitting.
To assist with issues such as work-station neck pain, institutes such
as the Cornell University Ergonomics lab have been experimenting with both
standing and sitting computer work stations, and have been exploring combining
sitting and standing workstations at work. Many organizations have been
installing combination sitting and standing workstations. However there is not
sufficient research to quantify their impact on productivity or utilization over
a longer period of time.