Chances are you spend a significant chunk of your life at your desk! Keep reading to learn how to make your workplace a place of health? We talked about it with Louis J. Stack, Founder and President of Fitterfirst. His brand is recognized worldwide for supplying premium professional and personal products that help people recover from and prevent injury, maintain balance and fitness, and keep moving at work.
How did you start the company?
I am Libra, which is interesting because it symbolizes balance. Ironically enough, I became challenged by a balance in my early twenties, after having knee and double foot surgeries. Walking and keeping balance was almost impossible for months after!
In the process of search for a health solution, my brother and I created the machine called Pro Fitter. The goal was to help me regain my former balance and health. I am not just talking about work-life balance. I am talking about the initiate physical balance that allows our body to function successfully and to age gracefully.
This is how our company Fitterfirst was born. We have been “Leading the World to Better Balance” ever since.
Sitting, Standing or Moving? What are the healthiest workstation options?
“Balance is the Essense of Movement and Movement is the essence of life”. This is who we are, and this is what we are.
The human body is not designed to sit. Historically, sitting was something we did to rest, to turn your brain off, or to prepare to go to sleep.
Nowadays we sit to get to work, we sit when we got to work, we hunch over a computer day in and day out, we sit everywhere, and we sit all the time.
Therefore, when you do something, especially for 8-10 hours a day, you should understand that the human body wants to move and that all aspects of human body work the best when they are in harmony with gravity.
The simplest lesson we can all learn is to watch the movement of a mother with her baby. She naturally moves from side to side, front to back, left to right. Her head remains upright square on her shoulders. No-one has to tell her how to move. She is intuitively maintaining a good relationship with gravity.
Is standing at work better than sitting?
Not necessarily. Standing all day with a poor posture is not any better than sitting all day with a bad posture. It’s not about standing or sitting. It is about moving.
The difference though, is when you are sitting, moving is not attainable, because a chair limits your movement. You can only move a little bit back and forth, you can lean on an elbow, or you can slouch.
And although it is much easier to move and to have a proper posture when you are standing, standing desk is only a tool to reach a solution. And the solution is movement.
What are the things to consider if you decide to switch to a standing desk?
Though a standing desk is an excellent tool, if you stand for long periods of time, the feet can get sore and fatigued.
Some people are recommending anti-fatigue mats, and that’s fine. Except, the problem is, with anti-fatigue mats most people tend to stand still longer. Standing on something soft and cushy makes it comfortable to stand still longer, and you tend to move less. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against anti-fatigue mats. Just be mindful of the things that discourage movement, because that’s negative.
What are the other practices to help you stay healthy at work?
There is this interesting study by Doctor Joan Vernikos, who worked for NASA and whose job was keeping astronauts in space healthy and safe.
What she has concluded after forty years of research with astronauts and recovering people, is that the most important thing that you can do to stay healthy at your workplace is to… stand up straight for just a minute!
Simply stand up straight with your head squarely on your shoulders, and breathe deeply.
As soon as you stand up, you decompress the core and all your organs, that have been squished, start to go back to where they belong. Your heart rate goes up, and it increases the volume of the blood pumped to your brain. Your body starts to recalibrate its posture and its alignment naturally.
The study shows that, if you if you put an EMG (Electromyography) on a person, it takes exactly a minute for all that processes to unfold.
Surprisingly, doctor Joan Vernikos found out that standing straight with a good posture and breathing for a minute is even more effective than walking on a treadmill for five minutes!
Something as simple as setting alarm for reminders to make a break and stand up once every thirty minutes can make a huge difference! So stand up to balance all of your systems. And remember, “Balance is the Essence of Movement and Movement is the Essence of Life!”