Texas A&M research team: Sensor software boosts effects of standing desks


“What we understand now is that the human body heals itself through movement and activity,” said Mark Benden, director of the Ergonomics Center at the Texas A&M department of public health. “We want people to ambulate, to get up and move around, to take more steps throughout the day. When they do sit, we want them to sit less often and for less duration at a time.”

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“Am I doing enough for my health and wellness?”

Much debate continues to take place about whether standing more (such as at your CanDesk Standing Desk), sitting less, and walking 10,000 steps a day is enough exercise to support a healthy heart, waistline, and lifestyle. The majority of the literature seems to suggest that the answer is ‘no’, but as with everything, they add: ‘it’s complicated’. Let us try to break it down.

If you measure your walking distance (even sometimes) and you find yourself walking ~10,000 steps a day, and you prioritize standing upright over sitting slouched over, congratulations. You’re already well ahead of the curve. These are considered fairly conservative and easy-to-implement lifestyle enhancements that yield a compound interest. You see, when you start standing, it becomes easier to start walking. When you start walking, walking becomes easier, and you may begin walking more often and over larger distances than before. Once walking quickly for a long period of time becomes easier, you may find yourself yearning for an additional challenge, such as walking with a few bags of groceries in tow (instead of driving or riding transit), or even jogging. Thus, a slippery slope of healthy behaviors can begin to form with the simple act of standing more and sitting less.

Due to metabolic physical and genetic differences between people, the exact amount of exercise that a person needs and can handle varies, but there seems to be strong evidence to suggest that you engage in moderately vigorous exercise multiple times a week for a duration of at least 30 minutes, in order to optimize your body for long-term health. One cannot overlook the importance of nutrition in this regard, since even 10 hours of vigorous training (purely hypothetically speaking) isn’t necessarily enough to undo the damage of eating 10 fast food dinners. In other words, there are many factors at play when discussing optimal health and wellness, and it’s near to impossible to control and monitor them all in one coherent long-term study. Thus, most scientists find themselves concluding each such study with the following remark:

‘It’s complicated’.

Say you’re looking to buy a CanDesk, or you’ve recently purchased one, and you’re wondering what accessories to buy for it next. Well, the answer to this question depends entirely on you.

For instance, if you wear comfortable footwear such as running shoes or any other shoes with soft and supportive soles when you’re standing at your CanDesk, an Anti-Fatigue Mat is less important. If you wear dress shoes, heeled shoes, or any other kinds of shoes with firm unforgiving soles, we suggest that an Anti-Fatigue Mat be the first thing you buy. Having proper support is not only important for your bones and joints, it also makes you feel more comfortable and improves your stamina when you’re standing.

Depending on your height and your computer configuration, a Monitor Mount might be the next most important accessory that you buy for your CanDesk. The importance of maintaining a neutral posture throughout the day cannot be overstated. This means that your legs are straight, your back is straight, and your neck is straight. The job of the Monitor Mount is to ensure that you don’t have to keep bending your neck to look down (or up) at your screens for extended periods of time. You may be able to get away with this behaviour in the short to medium term if you take breaks and stretch often, but it will wreak havoc on your neck, shoulders, and upper back in the long term if it remains unchecked. The ability to raise, lower, tilt, turn, and twist your monitor/s to fit your body and your needs is crucial to ensuring your comfort throughout the day.  If you don’t use computers much during the course of your work day, perhaps a document holder should be on your wish list instead. The overriding objective remains the same: Keep everything as neutral, natural, and comfortable as possible.