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Exercise physiology professor advocates the health benefits of standing – instead of sitting – while at work
Friday, February 28, 2014
While many Southeastern employees are taking charge of their health with the new Southeastern Scale Down program and other wellness initiatives this semester, faculty in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies and Department of Biological Sciences are also standing up for better health while they work.
Instead of sitting for most of the workday, these faculty members have placed their computer equipment at eye-level when standing by using homemade computer towers. Dr. Robert Kraemer, an exercise physiology professor at Southeastern, was one of the first faculty members on campus to switch to a standing desk nearly five years ago.
According to Dr. Kraemer – who does sit for short periods during the day to meet with students, do paperwork and use the phone – standing for two and a half hours burns the same number of calories as running an extra half-mile during a workout. While employees who incorporate exercise sessions into their days will enjoy some health benefits, those who combine less sedentary activity during the workday will see even more.
Several studies also have shown that prolonged sitting increases the risk for all-cause mortality, independent of certain risk factors. Dr. Kraemer believes that an increase in activity during the workday could improve employee health and reduce overall healthcare costs for the university.
Other simple ways employees can increase their activity while at work include moving around or taking a short walk every 30 minutes or using an exercise – or stability – ball instead of a desk chair to engage leg and torso muscles while sitting.