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Humans Are Designed to Move - Part 1

Man Sat at DeskWe spend, on average, almost nine hours a day sat down - and that’s not taking into account the eight hours we spend lying down, asleep. You might be sat there thinking ‘not me’, but when you break your day down into time spent commuting, sitting at work, commuting back home again and sitting down to binge-watch  a  box set , it’s easy to see how we manage it. 

But here’s the fact…our bodies aren’t designed for such lazy living, they’re designed to move.

“We can see this from the way our bodies are structured,” Mohamed Taha, clinical director at Form Clinic. “We are made up of 360 joints and over 700 muscles that move your skeleton. Our vascular and nervous systems depend on movement to function.”

To highlight the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on the human body, over the next few days we’re going to release how sitting down all day impacts various organs and bodily systems. 

Back And Shoulders 

Many of us have felt the effects of sitting for long periods, especially on our back and shoulders. But why?

Taha explained: “The average person is not able to sit down for more than three minutes without falling into a slumped or ‘slouched’ posture. Over time, this creates wear and tear in your discs and joints, overworks your spinal ligaments and puts an enormous strain on your back muscles that are stretched to accommodate this slouched posture.

Additionally, if you are in front of a computer, it’s natural to hold your neck forward while concentrating, which can cause strain on the neck and shoulders. “

Legs And Hips 

According to Dr Clare Morrison sitting down for long periods can “lead to muscle atrophy in the leg and gluteal areas, where the muscles weaken and waste away. Sitting also causes hip flexor muscles to shorten, leading to issues with hip joints.”

Another issue is that prolonged sitting can lead to poor circulation. This could lead to swollen ankles, varicose veins and even deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Heart And Cardiovascular System

Heart ImageHumans are built to stand up – and our heart and cardiovascular system work more effectively this way. “Too many of us are tied to our desks, and research shows that this could be increasing our risk of developing heart disease,” said Chris Allen at the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

A 2010 study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of a TV versus a group that spent more than four hours a day in front of one. It discovered an increase of about 125% in cardiovascular disease in the group that spent more time sitting down, as well as a 46% increased risk of death from other causes.

Additionally, research from the University of Chester in 2013 found that sitting down burns 21% fewer calories per minute than standing up - a solid case for investing in a stand-up desk.

“Long periods of sitting are also responsible for deactivating an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase,” added Taha, “which is responsible for the breakdown of fats in the blood vessels, and can lead to blockage of the blood vessels of your heart.” 

 

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Brudenell Primary School Leeds trial EIGER Classroom Standing Desks

Pupil at EIGER Classroom Standing DeskToday we dropped off 7 trial EIGER classroom standing desks at Brudenell Primary School in Leeds (UK).

Brudenell Primary is a forward thinking school that is part of Active School Leeds and are keen to improve both classroom performance and well-being. 

Jo Davies is the Co-Headteacher who will be monitoring the children over the next 2 weeks.

Another step to making the UK one of the leading pioneers of active learning classrooms.

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Walking Boosts Your Brain Function - And So Do Standing Desks!

Walking Works LogoA moderate-intensity walking regimen may reduce symptoms of mild cognitive impairment that are linked to poor blood vessel health in the brain, a small study suggests.

Participants with vascular dementia who walked three hours per week for six months had improved reaction times and other signs of improved brain function, the Canadian team reports in British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Vascular cognitive impairment, or VCI, refers to mildly impaired thinking or more advanced dementia that's due to the same kinds of blood vessel damage seen with heart disease elsewhere in the body. It is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer's disease.

'It is well established that regular aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and cerebrovascular health,' the study's senior author Teresa Liu-Ambrose told Reuters Health. More specifically, it reduces one's risk of developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes (type II), and high cholesterol. These chronic conditions have a negative impact on the brain - likely through compromised blood flow to the brain.'

Before the exercise program began and at the end of six weeks, all the participants also had functional MRI brain scans and other tests that measured neural activity and cognitive ability.

People in the aerobic training group had significant improvements in their reaction times on the cognitive tests, and showed changes in their brain activity that made them resemble healthy brains more. The comparison group showed no changes.

Overall, exercise appears to be a promising strategy for promoting cognitive health in older adults, Liu-Ambrose said.

Every day active is key to our health. We're always talking about walking, stair climbing and of course sitting less and standing more. 

Let's get the UK fitter and healthier. Why not take a walk to your office and then spend time at a standing desk!

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UK Kids Are Some Of The Most Inactive In Europe - Standing Desks can Help

Kids sat around laptopsThe World Health Organisation released a report that compared the “obesity-related behaviours” for youngsters across 42 nations. It reveals UK kids are among the laziest.

Lead researcher Dr Jo Inchley, from the University of St Andrews, said social media was impacting on kids’ health. She said: “We know there are risks, such as cyber bullying and impact on mental health, as well as things like missing out on sleep.

“Also, there are longer-term impacts on physical health from being sedentary. One of the main challenges is that this kind of activity (social media and computer use) is so much part of young people’s lives these days.” She said more needs to be done to get kids moving throughout the day.

Dr Steven Mann, research director for UK Active said the findings were “alarming”.

He said: “Modern life has changed, but when teens are spending hours hunched over Facebook, Instagram and video games, they simply aren’t getting the exercise that they need.

“These alarming inactivity figures show that playtime is over before it has started for too many children, putting them at far greater risk of future conditions like heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.”

That's where we know we can help be introducing standing desks in to classroom environments and showing a new generation that they can use technology actively.

This in turn would have a positive long term effect in the workplace - people who don't want to sit for 8 hours a day for life.

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Chris Trickett May 31, 2017 2 tags (show) Add a comment

Australian Olympian Jane Flemming in push to make kids stand in class

Jane Flemming Australian Athlete supports standing desks in classroomsAustralian Olympian Jane Flemming says schoolkids should have to stand up in half their lessons to battle the bulge. She is also campaigning to move drop-off zones further from the school gates to entice children to walk more.

The former heptathlete and long jumper says obesity has reached crisis point. One in four Australian children aged two to 17 is now overweight or obese.

“I would love to see legislation that requires every second school lesson to be at a stand-up desk, and for safe drop off zones for schools to be further from the gate.”

“It is about incidental activity and getting people off their butts. The biggest decline in physical activity occurs the day someone starts school.”

Flemming, who will discuss obesity at the Australian Medical Association’s national conference on Sunday, added....“Sitting is just a shocker for brain function and physical health. When I was at school the fat kid was considered the stand out whereas now they are the norm.”

Regarding drop-off zones, Flemming said: “It’s trying to encourage people to move more. People need to get into the habit of using their legs in the form of transport.”

Flemming competed at two Olympics and won two gold medals at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, in long jump and the heptathlon, in which she scored a record total.

The Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute probed the benefits of height-adjustable desks with a trial at Mont Albert Primary School in 2014.

Students reported better concentration, and although there was no change in their “weight status” the school now uses a mix of desks.

But a later Deakin University trial at two high schools found students who had height-adjustable desks cut their class time spent sitting by 40 per cent. They also expended 38 kilocalories more per lesson — enough to prevent 5kg in weight gain over a year.

The institute’s head of physical activity research, Prof David Dunstan, said reducing the time children spent sitting had health benefits.

“The movement from sitting to standing throughout the day is likely to lead to increased blood flow,” he said.

“We are becoming more aware that too much sitting is not good for health.

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Walking to school at its lowest for at least eight years in Scotland

Children walking to schoolThe proportion of Scottish pupils walking to school is at its lowest for at least eight years according to a survey by cycling and walking charity Sustrans.

It said there had been a "steady decline" from 45.8 per cent in 2010 - the first year all council areas took part. The total fell from 47 per cent in 2009, when all but three councils were involved.

The proportion travelling by bus also declined, to its lowest level, from 18.2 per cent in 2010 to 16.7 per cent. However, cycling has increased from 2.8 per cent to 3.5 per cent.

Scooting or skating also went up, from 0.7 per cent to 2.8 per cent. But such "active travel" fell overall for the second year, by 0.5 percentage points to 49.2 per cent.

Sustrans Scotland national director John Lauder said: “The survey is crucial in helping local authorities and partners to build a more accurate picture of how Scotland’s children are choosing to travel to and from school, and helps to pinpoint areas where more work can be done.

Research has shown that increased physical activity can help us lead healthier – and happier – lives. By encouraging young people to travel actively for their journey to school, we can ensure Scotland’s children develop healthier travel habits that will be continued later in life.”

Wouldn't it be fantastic if we had UK kids actively getting to school and then learning in an active classroom by using standing desks.

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Nick White May 26, 2017 1 tags (show) Add a comment

Sitting increases the risk of developing serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease

Young woman sat on sofa using laptopExperts discovered that as little as 14 days spent sitting around reduces our muscle mass, increases body fat and raises the potential for high cholesterol. And they warned that taking at least 10,000 steps a day - widely regarded as a target for maintaining good health - should be something people strive for to avoid the risk of disease.

Dr Dan Cuthbertson, who led the new study and is presenting his findings at the European Congress on Obesity in Porto, Portugal, said any physical activity - even walking - is better than being sedentary.

He said: “This doesn’t need to be structured exercise - it could be things like getting off the bus a stop earlier or walking to the shops instead of driving. If you think of a typical mum at home who is always busy and on the go but doesn’t go the gym regularly, there are still significant health benefits in what she’s doing.”

Dr Cuthbertson’s team, from the University of Liverpool, followed a group of 28 healthy people of a normal weight with an average age of 25. Participants usually took 10,000 steps per day or more but did not have more than two hours of structured exercise - such as going to the gym or playing sport - per week

For 14 days, people wore a SenseWear armband, which lets researchers track levels of physical activity, steps, sleep and lifestyle. The group also had health checks on things such as fat, muscle mass and physical fitness at the start and the end of the study.

For the research, people were told to reduce their activity levels by more than 80per cent to around 1,500 steps per day. They were also told to eat their normal meals and keep a food diary. Over the course of the study, exercise levels dropped from a daily average of 161 minutes to 36 minutes. At the same time, the amount of time spent sedentary - such as sitting down - increased by an average of 129 minutes.

The results showed significant changes to the body, including loss of muscle mass (average loss 0.36kg) and increases in total body fat, with central body fat going up by around 1per cent. There was also an increase in liver fat and an increase in bad cholesterol markers. Overall, cardio-respiratory fitness levels also declined.

Dr Cuthbertson warned that people who did not exercise risked becoming obese and developing illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes.

“The take-home message is two-fold,” he said. “If you do formal exercise, it may not be enough and keeping active as part of your daily life is important. And for those who don’t exercise, avoiding prolonged sitting and increasing your daily step counts has clear health benefits.”

He added: “It does appear that there is something in this idea of 10,000 steps a day being good for you. People have become obsessed with 10,000 steps a day and this research shows it’s a good thing.”

He said people in the study were young and fit.

“If you take obese people, older people or those at risk of diabetes, all the risks of a sedentary lifestyle may be even greater,” he added. “Our day-to-day physical activity is key to abstaining from disease and health complications. People must avoid sitting for long periods of time.”

So once again, the virtues of using a standing desk everyday has significant health and wellbeing benefits. Why wait until it's too late?

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Three quarters of modern parents worry their children are less active than they were at the same age

Kids sitting on sofa with gadgetsTHREE quarters of modern parents worry their children are less physically active than they themselves were at the same age, according to a study.

Researchers who polled 1,000 mums and dads of kids aged four to 16, found keeping their children fit and active is a concern shared by many of those who took part.

She says: “This study highlights the confusion faced by parents across the country concerning physical activity levels in children.

“We need to get children doing more physical activity and get them feeling good about themselves. We will then have a nation of happier, healthier children.

“Children should be active every single day. Exercise should be made part of a child’s daily routine, both in and out of school, every morning”

Incredibly, one fifth of parents said they rely solely on schools to keep their children fit and physically active – with two thirds (66 per cent) believing their children get their full quota of physical education during the school day.

A further 31 per cent said they are led by their child, and did not push their child to get out and about more if they don’t want to, while six in 10 judge whether the kids need more exercise by how tired they are.

But 57 per cent of parents admitted noticing a significant change in their children’s behaviour when they were encouraged to exercise.

A quarter believed their children listen more after exercise, while a third of kids have improved concentration.

More than half of those polled admitted their children were much happier after some sort of physical exertion.

Just more information as to why we should be getting our children more every day active both inside and outside the classroom.

Standing desks in UK classrooms are a must.

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Classroom Standing Desk Case Study

Malton Primary School EIGER Classroom Standing Desk PhotoRecently we had a 2 week trial of our EIGER Student Classroom Standing Desks at Malton Primary School in the UK.
It was a huge success.
 
We asked Richard Allman, the Leader of PE Sport and Development to give us his feedback via a case study and it's here...
 

 

Aim and Objectives of Standing Desk Case Study:

Allow class teachers to assess the impact of standing desks upon classroom behaviour, task engagement, and attitudes to learning.

Quote/s (From pupil/parent/teacher that captures this work):

KS1 Teacher – “I was amazed at how children responded; I had them as provision areas to encourage written work. However, what I found was that the majority of children used the desks to stand, read and collaborate on challenges.

Upper KS2 Teacher – “After the initial excitement wore off it was pleasing to see how quickly Y6 children accepted the desks as part of their daily working environment. They were fully engaged in using them. There were no negative impacts on behaviour in my room.”

What we wanted to change or improve:

We wanted to look into options for increasing provision for purposeful physical activity throughout the school day. We wanted to look at how we could make our classroom environments more active without negatively impacting learning behaviours.

What we did (Key Actions):

We introduced standing desks into classrooms for small scale trial intervention over a 2 week period. We gave class teachers autonomy over how they utilised the desks as a learning resource in their rooms. Staff were tasked with reflecting upon their experiences with a specific focus upon behaviour, engagement, and attitudes to learning.

The Impact:

Participating staff responded unanimously positively about the impact that the desks had in their room.

There were no negative experiences reported in terms of behaviour, engagement and attitudes to learning.

The desks complimented our approach to collaborative learning and facilitated positive discussion to the extent where the desks became a focal point for children to go to in order to collaborate.

So we were delighted with the case study feedback and to learn that Malton Primary will be looking to introduce the EIGER Student standing desks into their classrooms soon.

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Nick White May 18, 2017 0 tags (show) 1 comment

Another Real Life Story about 1 Week at a Standing desk

Lady at standing deskJulie Dixon is 52 and she is a mortgage protection advisor. A national UK newspaper provided her with a standing desk option for a week. These are some of her findings...

“I was surprised at the difference standing at my desk made to my productivity and success.

“I make a few phone calls I’d been putting off and some ended up with me getting some new business, which they hadn’t agreed to in the past.

“I didn’t get that post-lunch slump and my lower back pain seemed to lessen too.

“I’ve been in this industry for 30 years and my week at the standing desk was one of the most  productive I’ve ever had.”

Improving productivity is one of the key benefits of using a standing desk. Increasing your heart rate improves blood circulation and therefore oxygen levels to all your major organs, including your brain! 

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Feedback from Primary School Trial of Classroom Standing Desks

Thorner Primary School Children Running on TrackToday we went to meet with Ian Holmes, the head teacher of Thorner Primary School in Leeds (UK) after a one month trial of our EIGER Junior classroom standing desks. Ian is one of the leading supporters of active learning in educational environments - both inside and outside the classroom.

So much so that he has had a running track (it's bright blue!) installed around the playing field to help with their commitment to the Daily Mile - www.thedailymile.co.uk. It was even opened by Johnny Brownlee the UK Olympic Triathlete.

Ian trialled 7 EIGER Junior standing desks in Year 5 with great success. The children really liked the option of standing as to sitting and loved the fact they could adjust the height themselves.

Some children found it hard at first but this only validated the need for them to spend less time in the chair. By the end of the 4 weeks the children were used to standing more and were disappointed when they left the classroom.

Ian is going to be recommending the inclusion of a number of EIGER Junior classroom standing desks for every classroom.

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Blood Pressure Reduced in Just 1 Week Using a Standing Desk

Standing Desk imageDIGITAL marketing worker Craig Freeman, 31, is from Reigate in the UK. Craig trialled a standing desk for just one week for an article in a national newspaper.

In just one week he saw benefits. His blood pressure was above normal before the test and within normal limits after.

This is what he said...“Having spent the past week standing in an office full of 20 other people sitting, I’ve actually really enjoyed it – despite the stick I’ve been getting!

“It felt most beneficial mid-morning and late afternoon. Those are the times I feel like I need a stretch when I’m sitting at a desk.

“I normally suffer from back pain but, after a week of standing, it’s felt better. I’ve felt more productive, too.

“It’s good to know I will be burning more calories if I keep standing at my desk.”

So there it is straight from a normal guy in an every day office. The benefits are there for everyone. Let's spend less time in the chair and more time active working.

Standing desks work!

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Fears the UK faces a stroke epidemic fuelled by bulging waistlines

Stroke brain imageThe UK is facing an “shocking” stroke epidemic as bulging waistlines take their toll, a major report by Kings College London has found. The study of 35 countries warns that within two decades, the number of strokes is set to rise by 44 per cent - far above the average across Europe.

The UK already has the sixth highest number of strokes in Europe, with among the highest cholesterol levels.

Cardiac experts last night warned that soaring obesity levels are fuelling heart problems, and said simple lifestyle changes could greatly reduce the risk of strokes.

The research shows that on current trends, the number of strokes in the UK will rise by 44 per cent by 2035 - compared with a European average of 34 per cent.

Up to nine in ten strokes are preventable, if changes are made to lifestyle, or treatment started for conditions which increase heart risks, research suggests.

The Stroke Association said: “Most strokes are preventable and everyone can take steps to lower their risk of stroke as they get older."

“Obesity can increase your risk of stroke by at least 64 per cent, however simple lifestyle changes, like eating healthier meals, taking regular exercise and stopping smoking along with checking your blood pressure regularly can greatly reduce your risk.”

And on that you probably guessed what we're going to add...less time in the chair and more time at a standing desk during a working "white collar" day has enormous long term health benefits.

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Dell EMC Education Road Show

Dell EMC Logo Standing Desk Road ShowToday we were invited by DELL EMC UK education department to join their road show in Manchester and showcase the new EIGER Junior standing desk to their customers.

IT and EIGER'S work perfectly together especially with the latest Dell Chromebooks that were on display.

IT and sitting are in the DNA of most people and this needs to change. 

Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a new generation of children entering the workplace knowing that using technology doesn't mean sitting all day.

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Children become less active from the age of just seven, major study finds

Children sitting using technologyChildren are entering a “tragic decline” from the age of just seven, with activity levels dropping long before they leave primary school, new research suggests.

Fitness experts said British pupils were entering a state of digital dependence which would shorten lives, with sedentary lifestyles becoming the norm long before children reached adolescence. The Gateshead Millenium Cohort study tracked more than 500 children for eight years, with trackers measuring activity levels.

Until now, efforts to improve uptake of sport and fitness have assumed that the significant slump in activity comes with puberty, especially with girls.

But the new study shows a sharp drop in activity levels between the ages of seven and nine, among boys and girls, with a decline continuing into adolescence.

At the age of seven, the average boy was moderately or vigorously active for one hour 15 minutes a day, the study found, dropping to one hour 10 minutes by the age of nine, and just an hour by the age of 12. By the age of 15, the figure is just 51 minutes, the research shows.

Seven-year-old girls had such activity levels for 63 minutes a day, dropping to 56 minutes by the age of nine, and 47 minutes by the age of 12. At 15, the average girl is active for just 41 minutes daily, the tracking devices found.

Much of the damage was caused because of the amount of time children spent on smartphones and computers, as well as being driven to school instead of walking, experts said.

Jack Shakespeare, Head of ukactive Kids, said: “Physical inactivity is society’s silent killer and the biggest tragedy is that it’s creeping up on our children before they’ve even left the playground.”

While extra funding for school sport was welcome, he said a wider “cultural shift” was needed to protect an inactive generation from a lifetime of health problems.

“It’s not just a case on buying more bats and balls for the PE cupboard, we have to embrace creative solutions and look at how we harness our digital dependence to build movement back into children’s lives, instead of taking it away,” he said.

And that’s where we step in with our EIGER Junior Standing Desk. To have a new generation of UK children going through education knowing there is a healthy alternative to the chair will have major benefits both short term and long term.

If sitting is the new smoking and inactivity a serious global health problem why do we make our children sit down for 4.5 hours every school day?

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