Personal and mental health is a crucial component of productivity in our modern-day work environment. With research on the importance of physical health available to all, many employees are starting to become aware of the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. While there has been an obvious shift towards more white-collar jobs that require long bouts of time at a computer, people are beginning to re-examine how they can do their jobs effectively while still making sure to remain healthy. Research has found that sitting on a computer chair for long periods of time is not only unhealthy but can have repercussions for your circulatory system as well as heart health.
The most obvious way to break up your sitting routine would be to get up and take a walk around your home office or even around the block. But there’s a simpler way to accomplish movement with minimum activity: simply standing. While a sit-to-stand desk or an adjustable height desk is an ergonomic way to ensure you’ve got a convenient way to adjust your working space for both scenarios, we still may be asking the question: how often should we be standing? While the answer to this has been researched extensively, there are many varying recommended suggestions.
The 3:1 Rule
The 3:1 sitting/standing rule basically states that for optimal health consideration, every 45 minutes of sitting, an individual must stand for 15 minutes. This ratio is the most universal and has been adopted by most doctors as the best recommendation for overall health. While starting this may seem daunting, it is the easiest way to make sure you’re optimizing your physical well-being during your work day.
The 1:1 Rule
The 1:1 sitting/standing rule is a bit more aggressive and states that an individual should spend the same amount of time standing as sitting in a day. To break it down, the 1:1 rule would require that for every 15 minutes of sitting, an individual would need to spend an equal 15 minutes standing. While more aggressive than the 3:1 rule, this ratio ensures you aren’t sitting for any amount longer than you’ll be sitting within a day.
The 1:3 Rule
As the least commonly recommended, the 3:1 sitting/standing ratio is an aggressive way to ensure that you spend substantially more time standing in a day rather than sitting. This rule states that for every 15 minutes of sitting, individuals must stand for 45 minutes. This ratio allows for the most activity and would ensure that you are remaining active more often than you are remaining sedentary.
While understanding the three ratios for finding the perfect sitting-to-standing ratio, individuals may have some health considerations they will need to take into consideration. Individuals with continual back pain while standing may want to opt-in for the generic 3:1 ratio, while more active individuals who compete in sports and activities more often may lean more towards the 1:3 rule. Overall physical and heart health play an important part in your decision-making as well. If you are just starting your health journey, you may want to opt-in to start with a 3:1 ratio and slowly work your way towards the more aggressive ratios. Additionally, individuals will need to make sure that when they are standing they aren’t favoring weight on one side of their body and are moving kinesthetically. A simple way to achieve this is by standing up straight, maintaining good posture, and occasionally extending and bending your legs. You may even want to raise your knees on occasion to make sure you’re not getting stuck in a singular position that might contribute to pain.
Considerations for which ratio to choose should be done so on a person-by-person basis, but the research is clear that everyone should be incorporating standing into their everyday work routine. While the ratio you choose will largely depend on your current health and future health goals, getting started sooner rather than later by involving movement in your day will not only boost your mental health but help you achieve your goals more quickly and become more productive overall. If you have any questions about which ratio is best for you, it is best to consult your doctor and find a health plan that works for you.
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