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Originally published in Interiors & Sources

04/30/2013

Take a Stand with Seating Alternatives

Reimagined products set out to cure sitting disease

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  • /Portals/1/images/Magazines/2013/0513/BLD_0513_SB_Interiors1.jpg

    The Locus Workstation by Focal combines a stool for perching with a desk for working. It is ideal for anyone who sits at a traditional desk, but is most popular with physical therapists, doctors, and lawyers.
    Credit: FOCAL

  • /Portals/1/images/Magazines/2013/0513/BLD_0513_SB_Interiors2.jpg

    The goal of LifeSpan’s TR1200-DT5 treadmill desk is to provide movement in the workplace. Its low speeds allow for accurate typing and writing.
    Credit: LIFESPAN

  • /Portals/1/images/Magazines/2013/0513/BLD_0513_SB_Interiors3.jpg

    Ergotrons’s WorkFit-S Sit-Stand WorkStation allows switching between sitting and standing because prolonged standing is hard on joints and can result in deep vein thrombosis.
    Credit: ERGOTRON

The average adult spends 9.3 waking hours per day sitting, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

As the work of humans has shifted from hunting boars to hunching behind computers, productivity has surged but health has slouched.

The so-called sitting epidemic can contribute to actual illness – higher levels of sedentary behavior are linked with a 112% rise in the risk of type 2 diabetes and 147% in cardiovascular disease, according to research conducted in the U.K. by the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.

It can even lead to earlier mortality rates. The American Cancer Society found that men who sat six hours or more per day are 20% more likely to die within 15 years than those who sat three hours or less. For women the figure is 40%.

Don’t sit idly by when it comes to this issue. Take a stand by incorporating the following seating alternatives into your workplace.

1) Perching
“I was not originally aware of the sitting crisis,” says Martin Keen, CEO of Focal Upright Furniture LLC. “I came up with the idea to fulfill a personal need. I didn’t like sitting and didn’t feel creative while motionless in a traditional seat.”

Focal’s Locus Workstation provides users with a posture halfway between standing and sitting, a concept Keen discovered while leaning against his design table.

“I think of it not as a new way of sitting but as a new way of working,” he explains. “It’s more energized.”

The bulk of Focal’s clients have been physical therapists, doctors, and lawyers, but larger corporations have started out with a few to test and come back for more, Keen explains.

“It’s not your grandfather’s office chair. It doesn’t look or function like anything you’ve seen before,” he adds. “But it’s a very familiar posture, like leaning against a couch or picnic table.”

Another style of perching is provided by aeris-Impulsmöbel’s Muvman stool, which provides vertical and lateral motion with a tilted spring center post.

“The concepts are life in motion and the active office,” explains Sandra Bowie, the North American representative for the German manufacturer. “When you incorporate activity into the workday, people tend to concentrate better because they don’t get as tired versus just sitting statically.”

The Muvman is popular in higher education, healthcare, offices, assembly lines, and collaborative environments, Bowie says.

“More workers are Generation Y, and they don’t like being tethered to their dad’s old-fashioned office. They want something different, because technology like smartphones and tablets allow them to work differently,” adds Bowie.


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