It seems the government is backing up its claims that preventative medicine and mental health are now a priority. Following pressure to vastly improve our country’s safeguarding of vulnerable groups now by September 2020 school children as young as 4 years old will be taught compulsory lessons about the importance of sleep, looking after their own mental health, relationships and going outside. The new lessons will be part of the broader revised curriculum which will also cover for secondary school pupils, the dangers of sexting, spotting anxiety amongst their friends and the importance of staying safe on the internet.
They will be taught about nutrition, staying active and the link between mental and physical health. And that online time shouldn’t replace playing outside.
"So many things about the way people interact have changed, and this new world, seamless between online and offline, can be difficult to navigate...Almost 20 years on from the last time guidance on sex education was updated, there is a lot to catch up on."
"It will help children learn how to look after themselves, physically and mentally.”
Education Secretary Damian Hinds
The is a notable rise in sleep disorders often attributed to night time screen time which has recently been advised against by the UK’s chief medical officers to be curtailed.
Researchers announced in a British Medical Journal study that sleep deprivation is a serious issue likely to cause more impact on a child’s well-being than bullying, physical activity and screen time. You can read about the study here.
In the meantime for teachers who want to get ahead of the game, in January the PSHE published sleep factor lesson plans which are available to download here: The free to download lesson plans teach children to;
• recognise what good quality sleep is and why it is important
• identify habits and routines that promote good quality sleep
• understand how sleep patterns change during adolescence
The new plans for sex and lifestyle based education has however received some criticism and after a 106,000 signatures have been gathered the issue of parents wanting the right to opt out their children will now be debated in parliament next Monday. It is worth noting that Parents will still have the right to withdraw their child up to age 15 although headteachers will be encouraged to discuss with parents the potential negatives of withdrawing their child, so it seems there will be pressure imposed to include your child.
“We believe that these changes are absolutely essential in creating an educated and self-aware generation next. In schools the teaching of physical literacy is malnourished and needs improvement …this is certainly a welcome step in letting children take some ownership through understanding their own health and it's importance.
"I know that Education Secretary Hinds said £6 million would be made available to cover training and resources, hopefully the initiative and the funding allowance will be built upon if the government genuinely expects any sweeping changes in outcomes.
"We work with over a hundred schools on improving their flexible seating options to enhance their pupils development from this we know first hand that even small changes can have a tremendous impact.”
Nick White, Eiger Standing Desks / iwantastandingdesk.com
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JAMA Paediatrics has published a study which explains that half the population of USA children have a mental health disorder and only half of those get treatment.
In 2016 a US wide survey was given to parents of children and teens of 46.6 million children aged 6 to 18, 7.7 million had at least one mental condition such as depression, anxiety or ADHD and only half of these were receiving treatment within the last 12 months.
Interestingly the numbers from state to state across the broad US varied wildly suggesting external factors have an influence over mental health in young people. The children of Hawaii for example only 7.6% had one of the conditions compared to Maine where over a quarter of the kids had one or more.
The Author of the study Mark Peterson professor at University of Michigan Medicine said the high numbers of mental illness and how many go untreated was unexpected.
The low treatment numbers are attributed to a lack of mental health services, poor insurance coverage and a stigma attached to mental health conditions meaning that parents were averse to putting their children into support services.
"Untreated mental illness in children pose grave consequences to our communities, including high rates of suicide, academic decline and unemployment" - Dr. Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio
Our Take on This…
Physical literacy is a malnourished area of our children’s care. More needs to be done to ensure that our children are in the best possible state with their mental health as we wrote earlier in the week, getting exercise and vitamin D is a hugely important aspect to that.
The UK is just starting to raise how we tackle mental health in children. 9 local authorities in the UK have this week each received a share of £650,000 to pilot a program designed to improve the way children and young people’s mental health needs are met as they enter care.
Cllr Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service, said: "We listened to young people when they asked us to help support their mental health needs. Being part of this project is a great opportunity to ensure each child gets help that is right for them, at the right time. As we roll out this pilot, we will continue to listen to young people every step of the way.”
This week UK doctors have also urged parents to reduce the amount of screen time we allow our children as this is directly linked to the growth of adverse mental health conditions noted in the survey.
More screens mean less movement. Our children lifespans are 5 years shorter than our own because we have allowed a landscape of inactivity to develop and this needs to be countered at the earliest ages. It has been proven that active children become active adults and physical activity leads to better educational results and children with less mental and physical health disorders. We work with schools to implement flexible seating plans integrating standing desks into schools and the feedback we receive reinforces our belief that standing desks in schools are an essential part of an overall solution.
If your school wishes to trial standing desks then you can request a trial here.
The Telegraph are campaigning to create a 'duty of care' campaign which suggests that government enforce a rule-set for social media and gaming / internet companies to ensure the web is a safe place for our children in the face of the booming tech landscape they are growing up within.
They reported on Thursday that all four medical officers in the UK have made recommendations that screen time be monitored and reduced following a study that links screen time with depression in young people. The study has failed to prove a causal link however it shows a doubling in depressive symptoms for heavy social media users.
Chief medical officer Prof Dame Sally Davies has warned social media companies to reduce addictive technology or face new laws to ensure they do so with costly fines for failing to meet the targets. Davies spoke as she made the first official announcement of proposed guidelines for parents to ensure their children don't overuse tech in a harmful way. She suggests tracking features within devices should be used by parents to ensure there are limits set on screen time.
Dame Sally said: “Technology is an unavoidable aspect of modern life and technology companies have a duty of care. They must make more effort to keep their users safe from harm, particularly children and young people.”
Matt Hancock, UK Health Secretary has met with leaders from Facebook, Instagram and Google to urge them to remove harmful images which might glorify self-harm or bullying.
“We are masters of our own fate as a nation and we can and must legislate to make sure this amazing technology is used for good if social media companies won’t work with us,” wrote Hancock.
Guidance suggests limiting children’s screen time to 2 hours, screen free mealtimes and bedtimes. The last point being reinforced by the fact that the light from screens stops the production of the hormone melatonin, which is vital for getting to sleep.
The advice suggests these 7 pointers;
- Leave phones outside the bedroom when it is bedtime.
- Talk about sharing photos and information online and how photos and words are sometimes manipulated. Parents and carers should never assume that children are happy for their photos to be shared. For everyone - when in doubt, don’t upload.
- Make sure you and your children are aware of, and abide by, their school’s policy on screen time.
- Keep moving! Everyone should take a break after a couple of hours sitting or lying down using a screen. It’s good to get up and move about a bit.
- Advise children to put their screens away while crossing the road or doing an activity that needs their full attention.
- Talk with your children about using screens and what they are watching. A change in behaviour can be a sign they are distressed - make sure they know they can always speak to you or another responsible adult if they feel uncomfortable with screen or social media use.
- Screen-free meal times are a good idea - you can enjoy face-to-face conversation, with adults giving their full attention to children.
What's Our Take On This?
It seems obvious to me as a parent that we shouldn't let our children spend their lives with their heads inside phone iPad and computer screens however it’s a habit we can all easily allow our family’s to slip into. The digital babysitter has rescued my sanity on more than one occasion and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
But the facts about depressive symptoms genuinely worry me as a parent. The telegraph wrote quite a moving account of a young girl who took her own life and the last thing she did was log into Instagram. Whatever was the last straw for her was on social media and this alone is enough to make me start to consider the content my kids are engaging with (and for how long) and more importantly to get off their bottoms and move more instead of sitting down and playing video games or with phones and devices.
There’s no getting away from the fact that we are rarely moving when we are on social media which might be a contributing factor to the high depressive symptoms with heavy social media users as their bodies aren’t getting the natural positive chemicals associated with exercise and sunlight such as serotonin, oxygen and vitamin D known as 'the sunshine vitamin'. I’ve said it before and I'll say it again. We are designed to move. Standing desks whilst they will rarely get us outside they do allow us to get busy with what we want to orientate on but also encourage us to move and stay physical...and the thing about moving is it's habit forming. Get used to moving and you wont want to sit down which will lead to a more active, happier lifestyle overall.
The guidelines above suggest regular breaks from sitting but many people say it feels more natural to get up and get moving than slouching all day which only makes us feel tired and lethargic.
Our standing desks are designed to work for all age groups and can be with you through your life with different desks in our range being for different age groups. We have Eiger Pro Desks for adults and Classroom Standing Desks such as the Eiger Student for kids as young as primary school age.
If you want to talk to us about the best solution for your school or home then get in touch through the site or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter but don't stay on there for too long ...obviously.
The Last Word
The new guidelines seem like a a long overdue measure. Tech companies proactively hire addiction consultants to make their games and experiences more addictive and our children are growing up with phones glued to their hands and are now being officially diagnosed as addicts. The personal gadget landscape could well have damaging long term affects and its important that we combat this now. Its essential that corporate's are held accountable for the long term affects of their nefarious tactics and that our government finally demonstrate they consider our children's mental health a priority.
You may also want to read: Health Report Links Children's Screen-Time To 12 Major Cancers
SUMMARY: MacDonalds are being delivered to schools despite the anti-obesity ban amid the backdrop of a Birmingham Child Type 2 Diabetes epidemic undermining headmasters efforts to inject healthy culture into schools. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Three Doctors have been quoted in the media this week. Here's why.
Do you own a standing desk ? Do you run? if you answered yes to both of these questions then using time at your desk practising balancing on one leg is just what the doctor ordered.
Dr Mark Cucuzzella is a running expert and a professor of family medicine in West Virginia. Amongst the myriad of "new year, new you" articles hitting the internet this January sits a nice little tip from the good doctor. He suggests runners should concern themselves with establishing and improving their balance and if you run and use a standing desk, you can use specific times in the day as a prompt for you to stand on one foot to develop and improve your centre of balance. This could be when you answer your emails or some other habitual moment that’s memorable and suitable for you.
Now why does this matter? well balance plays a huge role in running and — “because running is a series of jumps where you have to land on one foot, stick that landing and get off the ground,” Cucuzzella says it’s all about staying safe and injury free on the road or track. His article has a series of tips for runners to get active and stay healthy in world where technology is increasingly designed to keep us in chairs.
“Just spend as much time as you can on one foot trying to master that balance and never lose it,”
The act of balancing on one foot takes stress off each leg and initiates a degree of movement as anyone who follows this blog already knows we actively encourage this in order to get benefit from your standing desk. We feel this tip can work for all you standing desk users to keep those micro movements up which will help maintain good circulation and better calorie burning benefits from standing. Remember standing still all day is almost as bad for you as sitting still all day.
Secondly a well written article on the Independent also includes another UK medical practitioner, TV Doctor Mark Rowe providing a series of life changing tips including investing in a standing desk as part of a new year healthy regime to keep movement up and vary your working position - read their piece on getting active in 2019 here on their Life Health and Well-being blog.
Lastly Dr Vegar Rangu a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has had some disconcerting results to their study of cancer rates among 38,000 adults over a 16 year period, and found that those who reported sitting for long periods each day were 20% more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who spend more of the day on their feet. You read more about their research here on the Metro.
Studies have previously linked long sitting periods with increased rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer and premature death but this one specifically shows a link to an increase in prostate cancer.
‘The main findings were that prolonged sitting time is independently associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer while moderate to high leisure-time physical activity may reduce the risk of specific cancer types, particularly colorectal and lung cancer,’ says Dr Rangul.
‘we noted that moderate physical activity significantly decreased the risk – the findings emphasising the importance of reducing sitting time and increasing physical activity.’
With 2019 barrelling down upon us and those post-Christmas dinner waistlines stretching it’s that time of year when many of us start to think about how we might tackle our healthy habits for the upcoming year. Now as research illustrates Gyms aren't cutting it, as 9 out of 10 people who buy into a yearly gym membership will quit after only 6 weeks and with new NHS guidelines recommending standing meetings to tackle the growing obesity problem affecting our nation its time to consider working up those new year’s resolutions.
If you are making some firm plans to integrate standing and movement into next year’s plan for a healthier body then you might want to bookmark the 26th April.
“On your feet day” which is a national day when workers across Britain participate in a variety of fun activities to sit less and move more. Is free to sign up (which you can do here.) and offers suggestions getting everyone involved in fun and simple ways;
• Stand during phone calls
• Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
• Use the stairs
• Have standing or walking meetings
• Eat your lunch away from your desk
• Walk to your colleague's desk instead of phoning or emailing them
• Stand at the back of the room during presentations
The national standing challenge day website offers a challenge page with ideas on how to take part, including the creation of teams and fun challenges. Once signed up you can download posters, guidelines and information from March 2019.
We urge you to get involved, sign up, book the day in your diary and join 2 million other people championing standing in the workplace this New Year. Official website is www.onyourfeetday.com
A video released three days ago by YouTube channel 'Med School Insiders' titled - "Standing Desks More Harm Than Good?" Asks the question does the research on standing desks stack up.
The video author reviews over two dozen research papers in his research and offers a balanced an objective opinion weighing up the pro's and cons of using a standing desk versus sitting. He has used a standing desk for 5 years and speaks excellently on the subject.
The reality is that research is wildly under nourished on the subject, most research studies are retrospective and it's hard to determine exact physiological benefits to just using a standing desk alone. However as the video producer finds there are very real, demonstrable benefits to including a standing desk in your overall health plan and suggests integrating movement into your day to offset the negative side-effects of prolonged standing or sitting. Watch the video. it's fair, easy to watch and could help you decide if standing desks are for you.
The Guardian have published a lengthy first person account of one writer’s lifetime struggle with back pain. The editorial in their ongoing “the long read” blog details writer Maggie O’Farrell’s reflections on living with chronic pain from spinal injury for many years.
An excerpt on Maggie’s life changing back pain;
“Don’t get me wrong: I consider myself to be an extremely lucky person. The doctors first said that I would die; when I didn’t, they said I wouldn’t walk again. To have recovered, to have found a loophole out of one of these destinies, let alone both, strikes me as the very best fortune a person could ever have.”
You can read Maggie's full editorial here.
Now we understand Maggie’s back pain is a result of injury and her telling of it brings to light one primary fact for us here at I Want A Standing Desk UK Blog. That fact is that back pain IS HORRIFIC to live with. Readers of Spine-Health.com voted back pain as being more painful that childbirth.
Now we can’t make every floor not slippery and we can’t wave a magic want to eliminate back pain from injury in fact the elderly have shown us that most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. However we can suggest to you that some of you are getting back pain from sitting way too much. We know many of you sit for 9 and half hours a day. In the UK alone back pain is the single most common cause of lost working days, with the costs running into billions of pounds. Each year 2 million people attend their General Practitioners with spinal problems and over 300,000 are referred for specialist care.
Lee Barker who is the principal physiotherapist at Alderbank Physiotherapy, in Grimsargh, near Preston, and was a member of the Olympic Physiotherapy Team 2012 explains here that standing up isn’t just good for your general health it is great for your back. He writes that the body was not designed to sit for such lengthy periods but we need to take the pressure off our vertebrae and reduce strain by standing more.
MD of iwantastandingdesk.com Nick White said “back problems are life stoppers (short and long term). Why wait to start looking after your lower back until you have a problem? People need to spend less time in the chair and more time stood correctly to feel the benefits immediately.”
Business insider writer Mathew DeBord this week has written about his change to a standing desk after a lifetime of sitting. He fashioned a home-made standing desk to test the process before he opts for a better more rigid solution. Now we see these all the time on social media, these are the modern equivalent of the breeze block bookshelf. However even with a modest setup the benefits were convincing for Mathew.
Mathews make-shift standing desk. Read Mathews full account here.
He writes about how using an Apple watch he is able to keep ahead of his standing reminders which new research has shown can add two years to your life expectancy.
“It's been a few months and I haven't looked back.”
Abraham The Pharmacist has created a video after using the Eiger standing desk
If you see an interesting account of someone talking, writing about or solving their problems with a standing desk please tweet it to us at @standingdeskuk
Sport England has called for a focus on children’s health after they conducted a world leading 130,000 participant survey into the activity levels of children and young people. The survey is the largest ever of its kind and contains results that detail how 2.3 million children do less than 30 minutes of activity each day.
The chief medical officer recommends at least 60 minutes of exercise a day for young people, the World Health Organisations recommends that at least 3 days a week that activity should be aerobic.
Chief Executive of Sport England Tim Hollingsworth said
“I am calling for a national focus on the health and wellbeing of our nation’s children and for the whole system to be united in delivering change. Our children deserve better and Sport England is determined to play its part,”
“Parents, schools, the sport and leisure industry and government all have a role to play in addressing and increasing childhood activity. This research is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a big wake-up call for all of us."
Meanwhile another survey of 2000 parents has demonstrated that mobile phones are edging out bikes, skateboards and roller-blades on children’s Christmas lists. Staggeringly 1 in 10 of the parents admit their children don’t even leave the house for a week at Christmas.
Whilse 3 in 10 youngsters get less than 30 minutes or less of fresh air daily, they get 3 hours of television and two and half hours on iPad, phones and computer games.
Tech is anchoring our children down and too many of them are not doing enough exercise or activity to keep them healthy. The World Cancer Research Fund recently detailed how their report demonstrated a link to 12 major cancers from increased screen time in children.
Jack Shakespeare of UKactive Kids said "movement has stripped out of our children’s lives with 'generation inactive' fed a staple diet of sofa play and screen time...It is vital for the health and happiness of this generation that we find ways to get children active."
Public Health England's head of diet, obesity and physical activity, Dr Alison Tedstone, added: “Physical activity is crucial for good physical and mental health of children and young people - this work is a timely reminder for everyone to do more to help them be more active.”
Nick White, MD of UK Standing Desk Manufacturer iwantastandingdesk.com said "Kids are becoming ever more sedentary and inactive, it makes sense to get them more active in the classroom and create a positive behaviour pattern to take into adulthood...entire schools in the US are becoming all standing with a view to seeding a culture of good health. This can only lead to happier, healthier children."
Given the recent reports that children’s lifespans are estimated to be 5 years shorter due to sedentary habits. The Sport England Survey encouragingly does demonstrate that 3 million children are getting enough activity, exceeding 60 mins a day but the Sports Minister Mims Davies says "the number of young people who are not doing enough is simply unacceptable...we must build a comprehensive and cross Government offer to create a truly active nation."
The biggest takeaway from the survey available here is that children benefit from activity. Their general happiness increases. Their mental health improves and as our recent report detailed they outperform inactive children. We owe it to all our children to raise the bar and get the UK up to speed when it comes to activity at home and in the class room.
Eiger Standing Desk School Trials Are Available Here
Participants for whom the watch was paired with a reward scheme were measured against those on a reward scheme with no watch and results showed the volunteers who wore the watch had 4.8 extra days of activity per month, which they said translates into two extra years of life.
Rand Europe who undertook the largest ever behavioural technology study found that at risk overweight and inactive groups were more likely to demonstrate greater improvements from the process and the average participant would increase their activity by a whopping 34% when using the watch.
Participants who used the watch would pay £12.50 a month if activity targets were not met. Recent research has suggested that losing something is a stronger incentive than gaining a reward and this psychology may also have influenced the study’s findings.
Standing Desk user and UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock who we recently reported has called upon the NHS to embrace tech as a preventative measure, said "We must stay at the forefront of emerging technologies like digital medicines because their potential is so huge”
Simon Stevens, head of the NHS has urged employers to encourage staff to lose weight with financial bonuses after he lost three stone on such a scheme in the USA. However critics of this have argued that employers are not responsible for subsiding fighting the decline in public health.
The Apple Watch has a stand meter in the activity app that shows hours in which you've stood and moved for at least a minute. Complete your daily Stand goal by standing up and moving around for at least 1 minute during 12 different hours in the day.
Standing Desk UK Blog reported on Matt Hancock’s new tech led health initiatives Last month.
Brace yourselves. Standing Desks are not a miracle elixir with magical cure-all benefits.
The New York Times Aaron Carroll has published an article slating the growing culture of standing desks. Carroll writes that “standing desks have become trendy…research suggests that warnings about sitting at work are overblown, and that standing desks are overrated” This has resulted in a number of spin off articles from lesser known sites extrapolating that standing desks are unnecessary.
In the NYT online, Carroll quickly cites several studies to support his opinion piece including Rempel and Krause (University of California) published work in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine from July 2018 which states that there is little evidence to support the notion that standing desks improve cardiovascular health.
The NYT article has a grandiose title and by-line designed to grab you by the collar, pull you close and challenge your preconceptions. The NYT article throws out words such as “over rated.” Whilst Carroll proposes that standing desks are “not cures” and that “standing is not exercise.” Carefully worded statements designed to decimate the growing belief that standing desks are a good thing that benefit your health.
The article is written by a medical professor of Paediatrics. The author Carroll has constructed his argument based on several studies from specialists in occupational health that explain the correlation between long sitting periods and ill health only being bad when it relates to people who are doing that outside of the work environment and there are very few links between workplace sitting and increased mortality. Suggesting rather that the sitting stats are a marker for social influences to ill health such as unemployment.
Interestingly the New York Times would probably like you to forget that in June they produced a less polarising article on the matter of "exercise versus standing" which cited research that illustrated standing is part of the solution rather than a replacement for exercise. They write "you probably need to do both."
MD of iwantastandingdesk.com Nick White explains that common sense, moderation and breaking the sedentary habit is at the core of the health benefit of a standing desk culture.
"You need to take responsibility for yourself, your health and well-being. Nobody is saying that standing desks are a cure for anything. They are however an important part of the solution. If you sit on your bottom all day, eat poorly and don’t exercise your standing desks isn’t going to magically fix that. Take responsibility for your own lifestyle. A standing desk is a part of the solve. Take the stairs. Park your car a little further away from work and walk. Using a standing desk isn’t a cure but it’ll help you rid yourself of an unhealthy mentality. Legitimate research exists that proves standing desks used in moderation and with sitting breaks will benefit your health and productivity in numerous ways as part of an overall solution"
So White doesn’t believe standing desks are a magical cure-all elixir either. Does this mean they are overrated as Carroll writes or as some spin off articles extrapolated …”unnecessary”?
Perhaps the evidence of cardiovascular benefit has yet to be successfully empirically measured however this absolutely does not negate that a huge 800,000 participant study by the UK’s National Health Service found that, compared with those who sat the least, people who sat the longest had a 112 per cent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a 147 per cent increase in cardiovascular problems and a 90 per cent increase in death from heart attack and stroke.
Resultingly the NHS in the UK now promotes standing as being part of an overall prescription for healthier living in order to reduce one of the biggest threats to our national health which is the populations growing sedentary habit.
Writing that standing desks are “not a cure” and “standing isn’t exercise” uses a straw-man notion that argues against a point that no one was making. It is unhealthy thinking, that whilst it might garner traffic like click-bait content it doesn’t contribute to the conversation everyone else is having.
Abram Falk commented “This is a strange and unnecessary attack on a device that many find helpful. Nobody was claiming that standing desks were a miracle health device”
Mike from New York wrote “No one argued that standing was exercise. This entire article is addressing a straw man argument. Standing -- for short periods mixed in with walks and sitting -- engages muscles that otherwise go dormant, improves blood flow, improves focus”
Another upvoted comment reads “I have not found anyone, anywhere who suggested that standing was exercise.”
The world’s greatest athletes advocate for healthy mentality. They believe in the power of positivity. Standing desks encourage that mentality. This can’t be empirically proven but it is broadly recognised as an essential element of success.
“small, positive changes, consistently made are a winning combination in life and in business” - Sally Gunnel the only female British athlete to have won Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles. Speaking at a health and well-being seminar she was delivering to businesses.
We live in an age where written pieces must be polarised and there is little room left for common sense. As such we believe impactful influencers such as The New York Times have a responsibility to foster ideas that contribute positively to society. Inactivity is a major health issue. It is the reason our children’s expected lifespans are 5 years shorter now. Taking a position that standing desks are bad because science hasn’t proven the cardiovascular benefits as emphatically as they would like whilst ignoring the myriad of proven health benefits and pro-standing research isn’t offering a balanced take on the movement. It’s getting traffic with controversy. Omitting the pro standing desk research because it doesn’t suit the narrative is unfair to the reader. We felt it was time that someone stood up for standing up. If carrots are suddenly proven not to give you night sight, do you stop eating them as part of a healthy diet? No. We say don’t jack in your jack desks just yet. Include them amongst all your healthy choices.
We all need to change poor habitual stationary behaviour. Standing desks are not a fix-all but they are part of the solution toolkit for combating a sedentary lifestyle.
Want me to prove it? Bookmark the blog. Then stand up. Listen to your body. It’s telling you that this is better. Keep at it and this writer believes you’ll find the results are irrefutable.
Standing desks are available throughout this website. Carrots are available elsewhere.
In the face of increasing evidence that sitting too much is leading to serious illness and obesity, the NHS website has published a set of guidelines on how (and why we should) sit down less.
The piece explains how some people are sitting for over 7 hours a day and 10 hours for the older generation. This in turn slows down the metabolism, reduces our body’s natural ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down fat. In short, sitting is making us overweight and ill.
I Want A Standing Desk UK Blog recently reported on Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock’s vision for the future of the NHS being preventative so it comes as no surprise that the new guidelines include the recommendation that people integrate standing desks into their own working days. Mr Hancock is a standing desk user himself and recommends that teams undertake their meetings at standing desks. The health secretary explained that standing meetings tend to be shorter and more efficient.
The NHS have published the Start Active, Stay Active Report which recommends breaking up sitting with short two minutes bouts of activity. A Panel of experts have suggested taking "an active break from sitting every 30 minutes." This can be accomplished with a variable height standing desk whilst allowing you to work through the sitting break.
"Breaking up sitting time engages your muscles and bones, and gives all our bodily functions a boost – a bit like revving a car's engine," says Professor Dunstan.
The NHS has included the following tips to reduce sitting time:
- work standing
- stand on the train or bus
- take the stairs and walk up escalators
- set a reminder to get up every 30 minutes
- stand or walk around while on the phone
- take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break
- walk to a co-worker's desk instead of emailing or calling
- swap some TV time for more active tasks or hobbies
I Want A Standing Desk UK Blog has written about UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock's belief that physical activity is "miracle cure" here.
In light of the shocking revelation that for the first time in history children’s life expectancy is 5 years shorter than their parents designedtomove.org has published a powerful video showing us what children would choose to do with 5 years extra to live.
In 2010 Nike formed a group of 70+ organisations whose mission it was to provide a framework to combat inactivity and understand a path to solving growing sedentary behaviour in children.
After initial launch the Designed To Move report has been refined, validated and published by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE). The group refers to inactivity as an epidemic that threatens our health, happiness and prosperity.
iwantastandingdesk.com and our twitter Standing Desk UK champions activity in schools and workplaces. We are here to help you be ambassadors for the change needed to fix the increase of sedentary behaviour which affects mental and physical health for everyone in your organisation.
We offer standing desk trials for schools and offer free advice to companies on how to successfully integrate standing desks into their workplaces. We proudly stand up and shout about the designedtomove campaign, offering you solutions to help give the children their 5 years back.
Brits work some of the longest work weeks in Europe and UK firms are beginning to buck that trend by offering their staff 4 day working weeks.
By reducing lunch hours and annual leave to 45 mins and by 20% respectively Gloucester based outfit Radioactive PR have been able to adopt a 4 day working week and MD Rich Leigh says of his newly reinvigorated staff base “There are two ways to make money in my line of work,” he says, “retain clients and get new ones. Miserable, tired staff can’t do either.”
Last year, more than half a million UK workers were signed off with work related stress or anxiety. Nick White, MD of Iwantastandingdesk.com said “encouraging good mental health in the workplace is absolutely imperative. Britain are notoriously behind trend internationally when it comes to integrating good work/life balance and positive healthy culture into their workplaces.”
“We work with a large number of companies who are invested in their employee’s well-being and frequently report to us that integrating standing desks, reduced work hours and other healthy work space initiatives result in their teams outputting higher quality work and demonstrating incredible loyalty. Not to mention all these measures increase recruitment quality as companies are striving more and more to improve their in-house offering to attract the best talent.”
France recently made it illegal for companies to expect their workers to answer emails out of hours but Britain just hasn’t kept up with our European neighbours and often work long hours often unpaid averaging 10 hours overtime a week and only 34 minute lunch hours.
The EU working time directive sets a limit of 48 working hours a week. Britain is the only EU member that allows workers to opt out of this and work longer hours. Trade unions however believe this is subject to “widespread abuse.”
Videogame companies are one of the worst culprits for insisting on crunch development cycles where staff often report on spending weeks to months not seeing their family’s due to the incredible pressure to meet deadlines. This is frequently regarded as “normal part of the job” but is affecting 76% of the industry despite being clearly unsustainable and damaging to long term productivity. According to research some workers report bouts of depression and low morale following the tech industries notorious crunch periods.
Standing meetings are often shorter, allowing firms to reduce wasted workplace time which research has shown is as damaging to productivity as cannabis smoking.
The Green party and Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress have both campaigned for the implementation of a 4 day working week citing increased automation as an opportunity for companies to spread the benefits of increased profits to its staff base. Should this begin to occur critics might argue that 4 day work weeks as a result of automation might inflate into the development of worklessness as companies begin to realise they need their staff base less and less.
Mark Price former MD of Waitrose believes the increase of the 4 day working week sends the wrong message and suggests that “work is bad and should be done less” he also believes that the public sector can ill afford to reduce working weeks in line with the private sector without increasing taxes to cover this. “I can’t imagine there is much of an appetite for that.”
Should 4 day work weeks be adopted in private sector could that make working for vital public services less appealing and have a negative impact to recruitment in services such as councils and NHS?
Wherever you land on the subject, there appears to be a need to improve our approach to work place health.
Crunch is bad for mental health but can we be more productive by working less? Latest research from Perpetual Guardian, a wealth management firm seems to suggest so as they report an increase in productivity by 24% in firms that take up the 4 days weeks. Following in his firm’s footsteps, Gloucester Managing Director Leigh asks the question “why not give it a try?”.
The APPG on a Fit and Healthy Childhood has released a report on the 7th November which insists the government regulate the marketing of junk food to kids. Right now companies only have an opt-in system where they can volunteer to regulate their own marketing to children however only a few particularly virtuous companies have subscribed to the regime and the APPG on a Fit and Healthy Childhoods new report urges the government to implement a series of mandatory regulations to ensure that companies adopt less aggressive measures marketing their products to vulnerable young people.
Child obesity rates are soaring and the World Health Organisation has highlighted the adverse effect that cynical youth-focused marketing is having on the eating and drinking habits of our children. Whilst Public Health England prefers to take a suggestive approach such as making the Change4Life free Sugar Smart and Be Food Smart apps available these measures are criticised as being underwhelming in the battle against childhood obesity in the face of companies ruthless advertising of unhealthy choices.
Lead Author of the report, and chair of the working group Helen Clark said
‘If the Government really cares about the health and fitness of our children, this report should be welcomed. It’s time now to be proactive - simply ‘working with industry’ on marketing doesn’t work!"
Some of the proposed measures in the report include restoring the £600 Million funding cuts back to local councils public health funding and;
- The banning of friendly characters to advertise junk food.
- Pushing back junk food advertising after a 9pm watershed.
- Fully adopt the UNICEF-advocated ‘child rights’ approach.
Helen Clark went on to explain “Actions must be mandatory to benefit all the UK’s children and industry should be given no room to evade beneficial action, ‘get around it’ or, as too many companies are doing today, simply ignore it. It’s time for those who make policy to stand up and be counted in the children’s corner!’
Understanding our Language: The APPG is an acronym for All-Party Parliamentary Group.
Last week we reported that childhood obesity has been linked to 12 major cancers.