The 3 benefits of using a standing desk at work

By Tom Bosna – Managing Director

 

When the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” was first referenced in the media it created absolute pandemonium in our Corporate Wellness Centres!

I remember many of our clients attending their Physiotherapy or Myotherapy appointments with sore necks and lower backs wanting quick answers. Our staff were inundated with requests for ergonomic advice, and opinions on the latest craze of the year – standing desks!

“Tom, I watched the news and apparently sitting is the new smoking. My work colleague has a sore back and ordered a standing desk – do you think I need one?” This conversation was had on repeat and continues today.

With influence by reputable employers like Apple endorsing standing desks they really could be onto something. The CEO of Apple Tim Cook has recently commented in an interview about Apple Park “We have given all of our employees, 100%, standing desks. If you can stand for a while, then sit, and so on and so forth, it’s much better for your lifestyle.” Before we take Mr Cook’s word for it – let’s analyse the facts.

The facts

In 2016, Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) ranked 7th on the list of top drivers of global disability. Among those aged 15–49, the top contributors to MSDs included occupational injuries and ergonomic issues (HME, 2015).

The impact of these MSDs on productivity, presenteeism and lost time are well documented in occupational health.

With increased demand for knowledge workers influencing workplaces across the world – it is essential that the health of employees is prioritised.

Why is sitting so bad?

Contrary to the alarmists in the media, and health professionals who have enjoyed their time in the sun on this topic – let me say one thing: there is nothing wrong with sitting.

We sit to enjoy a cup of tea with friends, we sit and watch our children run at the park, we sit down at a nice restaurant and enjoy a glass of wine. Sitting is part of everyday life.

Two words I want you to understand and be aware of: Ischaemic. Pain.

Ischaemic. If I was a gambling man, I bet five dollars that you have heard the word ischaemic heart disease. Ischaemic by definition refers to the deficiency of blood supply to a body part due to obstruction of inflow of arterial blood. A practical example of this is when you sit at your desk for too long during the day and you feel your lower back tensing and becoming sore. This can be a restriction in blood flow to that area of your body. You stand up, go for a walk and the tension is relieved, and goes away.

Pain. By cognitive association you are no doubt thinking about the last time you hurt a body part. Say the word pain ten times and it sounds like it hurts. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual or potential tissue damage.

A practical example of pain is when you sit at the desk for over 2 hours. You feel your lower back tense and it becomes sore. You feel frustrated, worried and angry that your back is sore. You get up to move but you are still sore. You are ‘so busy’ and take nurofen to make it better. You return to your desk, and in sitting the pain cycle continues.

If you marry Ischemic and Pain together you are probably sitting on the problem!

Have a look at your colleagues sitting at their desk. Are they stooped forward at their head and neck? Are they hunched over at their mid spine and look tired?

These positions not only look emotionally sad, but they are problematic – especially when held for a prolonged period of time. Blood flow is restricted, movement is stagnant and you not only feel pain, but you can feel trapped in a vicious cycle of inactivity, and struggle to get comfortable.

The rise of the standing desk

I’m sure you have that colleague that plays up and down with the sit stand desk all day. I bet they even count steps on their fitbit, do crossfit and are always up for a chat about how many mindful moments they have completed this week.  

They are so ridiculously happy with themselves aren’t they?

Cutting through this though – in my opinion – the main benefits of using a standing desk or active workstations are very logical.

Productivity  Standing up demands a happier, and more engaged posture. Increased alertness and engagement nets greater productivity than sitting. Simple.

Increased energy levels Standing up will cumulatively improve mood, and will result in greater energy output over time.

Reduce Cardiovascular risk One of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease is circumference of the waist. Standing up results in greater oxygen uptake of the employee and more incidental movement. These factors combined can reduce your cardiovascular risk profile.

So should you get a standing desk?

With small and large organisations making significant investment into active workstations, break out spaces and ergonomic furnishings – this is the time to ‘stand up’, and invest in you.

Tom is the Director of Pinnacle Health Group Australia & Movement Concept Advisor for the International WELL Building standards Institute.

References

Hedge A, Puleio J, Wang V. Evaluating the Impact of an Office Ergonomics Program. Proc Hum Factors Ergon Soc Annu Meet. 2011;55(1):594-598. doi:10.1177/1071181311551121

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). GBD Compare. 2015. http://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare.

Founder well-being: Check your health, before you wreck yourself!

This is a public service announcement for founders and the startup community.

Let’s be real about the treacherous lifestyle you have chosen. It is a roller coaster, one with many big dips, ups and loop the loop moments. Your friends and family think you are insane but you secretly love it. You know the startup grind requires courage, decisiveness and endurance.

Are you ready for the physicality of the startup grind?

Let me elaborate with a story about my mate Joe, an amazing entrepreneur from Melbourne.

Joe is a larger than life personality by nature, very likable and an extremely confident net-worker. Over the period of twelve months he successfully launched a health technology platform to the market and as any entrepreneur would do, he drove sales and joint ventures quickly.

Joe set the pace of the business and in year two his team grew very rapidly. Running on enthusiasm, adrenaline and excitement Joe started to find it a little difficult to switch off and get enough sleep. But there was no time for rest, exercise or time zone adjustments as he expanded into Singapore where he spent three months raising funds, networking and leading product expansion.

Joe’s friends and family were so happy for him, he was an overnight success until one night the fast paced lifestyle had caught up with him. After an intensive asian banquet for dinner and a few beers, he suddenly felt dizzy, had severe chest pain, headache and serious stomach pain.  Joe was instantly scared and worried.

Was it the dumplings, beers or a heart attack?

Let’s talk about three key components of well-being that Joe has neglected.

Fuel to the Fire

An internal fire burns inside the heart of an entrepreneur like Joe.

It burns, it burns and then it runs out. I failed to mention was that Joe was living on a diet of long macchiato and espresso during business meetings (at least four a day). For dinner, uber eats was too convenient not to mention pizza deliveries and coke zero for all nighters with the team!

With so much caffeine and fast food options in his lifestyle, Joe was literally running on empty and the stomach pain was the symptom of a greater issue, his diet.

To the start up community I highly recommend consuming at least three glasses of water for every coffee you consume. Coffee in any shape or form is a stimulant, anti-diuretic and acts on the central nervous system to increase alertness.  Combining high stress work with caffeine and foods high in sodium, carbohydrates and fat will result in weight gain, sluggishness and decrease your performance. If you are a go-getter and want to excel like Joe you want to consume foods rich in protein and low glycaemic index (GI).

Low GI foods can improve your ability to concentrate, sustain energy and make you feel fuller for longer – curbing the carbohydrate cravings such as pizza. Pick the right fuel for your engine.

No rest for the wicked

Founders are not immune to sleepless nights, feeling worried and working long hours. As travel schedules demand early morning starts and late night finishes, sleep becomes a liability.

In the case of Joe, his sleeping patterns become erratic. Over time, his sleeping pattern become so disrupted that four hours a night was considered the norm and the feelings of dizziness was a symptom of exhaustion.

Sleep can affect every part of your life. Your mood, energy, weight can all be influenced by the amount of sleep you achieve.

For founders, committing to healthy sleeping habits such as going to bed and waking at a consistent time is essential. Seven to nine hours minimum a night for healthy adults is required to perform well. Stay wicked but make sure rest!

High intensity lifestyles require physical resilience

With less than ideal amounts of sleep and terrible food habits – Joe did not feel up for exercise. Prior to launching his business he was an F45 member and attended six times a week., it was cult-like! His preference for fitness was high intensity and variety was important.

With the success of the business and travel requirements, getting out for a short run even become difficult.

Founders, please know one thing, the more physically active you are the greater your ability to think and create. If time is your excuse then do a short burst of high intensity exercise for fifteen minutes daily.

Being a brilliant entrepreneur requires creativity and resilient. Physical fitness will aid and improve these two areas dramatically.

Summary

Founders you have chosen a difficult and challenging lifestyle. Fueling, resting and staying fit will enhance your performance and help you achieve your dreams. Don’t be like Joe and burn out over dumplings and beers you are better than that!

Cure your headache with massage, not medicine!

Young doctor chiropractor massaging patient

Are you Constantly Suffering from Headaches? 

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache affecting people’s day-to-day life. These headaches can cause pain that radiates around the Temples, eyes, or at the back of the skull. The fact of the matter is, most tension headaches begin through significant muscle tension or muscle Knots in the neck and shoulders. 

When you say, “I have a muscle knot” You are actually referring to myofascial trigger points. In fact the dominant theory behind Trigger points refers to a patch of tightly contracted muscle, which affects a small part of the muscle tissue. That small part of “knotted” muscle cuts off its own blood supply, which causes irritation, and if not addressed will eventually cause a myofascial trigger point.

 

Why Choose Massage Over Medication?

It is alarming how many people have no idea why they are getting constant and reoccurring headaches. Medications such as Nurofen and Panadol are great at masking symptoms by decreasing inflammation and dulling pain receptors. However, they will not relieve muscle tension and therefore headaches become a daily occurrence because the actual problem is not being addressed.

Relieving muscle tension through Massage Therapy can be beneficial, as it will increase blood flow and oxygen to tight muscles, allowing them to relax in order to remain strong and flexible.  A study by the American journal of Public Health shows that pain associated with chronic tension headaches can be alleviated through specific massage treatments directed at the muscles of the neck and shoulders.

Lets be honest, we are all guilty of hunching over our computers and placing too much strain on the muscles of our neck and shoulders. Without even knowing your daily routines such as driving and looking down at your mobile phone can begin to irritate and place excessive amounts of tension on your body. After all, your muscles contribute to every movement your body makes, and this is why they need to be looked after.

 

Book a Massage at Pinnacle Health

Call 1300 2 Pinnacle or use our easy online booking form to book a massage!

Do you have back pain? You need physiotherapy!

Unfortunately back pain is something almost all of us have experienced; perhaps not personally, but instead witnessed the effects with a loved one. The sad truth of the matter is that the debilitating condition was once associated with ageing, but nowadays more and more young people are experiencing these complaints. The causes for back pain vary from negligence, through to degenerative diseases, and without immediate assessment and treatment can result in major problems later in life.

Luckily, there is a very effective and natural treatment to deal with back related pain – Physiotherapy. And if you live or work in the Melbourne CBD or Dockland you have some of the most professional and experienced Physiotherapists at your fingertips. Physiotherapy clinics are popular throughout Melbourne’s CBD and Docklands, so how do you choose which clinic to attend? First, the internet is a great source of information – clinics that are committed to delivering the best results and latest information and techniques will have informative websites to help you understand Physiotherapy and its uses. Usually physiotherapy accompanies medical treatment, and you’re often referred to Physiotherapists  to fast track your recovery.

Pinnacle Health Group Melbourne CBD and Docklands offer advanced, progressive physiotherapy treatments that continually evolve with the latest medical discoveries and methods to deliver effective treatment plans to help ease back pain. Their desire to continuously upskill is driven by their desire to help people recover from a disease, pain and injury that can ultimately ruin a person’s quality of life.

Pinnacle – Docklands Physio and Melbourne’s CBD Physio, offer a range of successful treatments from Physiotherapy to Dry Needling, Pilates and Massage. All therapists are highly qualified and trained; ensuring your road to recovery is as smooth and fast as possible. Call or book online to experience the absolute Pinnacle in health care.

Do you have back pain?
Do you have back pain?

Clinical Pilates vs Regular Pilates

By Physiotherapist Rosie Purdue

 

Have you ever wondered about the benefits and the differences that Clinical Pilates and Regular Pilates can provide for you? Well, here’s a quick and easy summary.

 

In order to know the differences, you must know what the fuss is all about! Pilates is a form of exercise used to lengthen and stretch all major muscle groups in the body with composed techniques. It helps to improve flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness.

 

What is the difference between Clinical Pilates and Regular Pilates?

Recently a lot of friends and clients have asked me, “What the difference is between Clinical Pilates and the Regular Pilates that I do at the gym or in a big group class at KX Pilates?”
The major difference is in the extent of knowledge and training that a Clinical Pilates trainer has, which allows them to adjust, modify and choose the accurate Pilates exercises for an individual.

A trained physiotherapist is whom prescribes and supervises a Clinical Pilates class, whereas an instructor for Regular Pilates only recommends a generalised program of exercises to individuals.

Both types of Pilates are based on the original theories and practices of Joseph Pilates and are exceptional ways to improve strength, flexibility and control. However regular Pilates does not take into account an individual’s injuries, history, pathologies and specific physiological needs.

Here are some of the fundamental differences:

Clinic

The reformers, which are the base for a Clinical Pilates class are machines that allow your body to learn a newtask whilst developing muscle length and strength. They can however be also used in a regular class. Clinically trained physiotherapists are able to use their expertise to design a tailored program that encourages the correct movement pattern for your injury. Sometimes, strengthening in the wrong position can actually make an injury worse and this may happen during a class routine.

Additionally, Clinical Pilates focuses on the brain’s pathway to “switch on” the correct muscles making sure they are the ones that are being used for the right movement pattern, rather than compensating with other muscle groups.

 

 

 

Rosie Purdue was a physiotherapist at the ANZ Wellness Centre

5 Handy Hints for preparing for The Corporate Games

Five Handy Hints for preparing for The Australian Corporate Games

By Physiotherapist Josh Lambert

This year, we have teamed up with the Australian‬ Corporate Games as the official Health‬ Partner to help prevent and manage injuries for the competing ‪athletes‬ throughout the demands of their events.

Our Physiotherapy team unfortunately assess and treat far too many avoidable injuries that our clients suffer in the lead up to, during, and after the event – mainly a result of poor preparation!

Corporate Games Promo

Here are 5 key tips to ensure you prepare sufficiently for the Corporate Games, and avoid letting your team down during competition!

  1. Prepare a training plan
    You have under a month until competition now, but still plenty of time to schedule training sessions for fitness, skills, or a mix of both
  1. Practice matches
    Ensure that you undertake at least 4 sessions (preferably with the whole team for team events) that are simulated match practice, or training at match intensity – a great way to condition the body, whilst getting to know your team-mates!
  1. Don’t forget flexibility and core stability
    As your training increases, so too does the demand on the body. Performing dynamic stretches daily – such as leg swings, trunk rotations, and shoulder circles – will lengthen muscle tissue, and help prevent injury
  1. Deal with injuries or niggles now
    If your issue is dealt with early enough, you can ensure a more enjoyable competition, and risk further damage during the event
  1. Have fun!
    The lead up to the Corporate Games is all part of the experience for you and your team mates, so make it fun and social to build a great team culture!

Good luck to all the teams taking part this year!

Need some help getting prepped for the Corporate Games? Get in touch!

 

3 ways to create movement opportunities at work! by Tom Bosna

Are you tired of sitting and want to be more active?

With the corporate clientele I look after every week this is one of the biggest complaints. The easy option is to blame stress, the boss, your chair and your body. Let me put this in perspective and summarise the issue and some potential solutions.

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that the time we spend at the workplace (in a chair) has a significant influence over a number of chronic illnesses. Heart Disease, Obesity and Diabetes are currently Australia’s biggest health issues.

A 2010 report from the University of Queensland showed that even when Adults met the recommended physical activity guidelines, the effects of this have been negated by the amount of time sitting per day. This has been labelled the “sitting disease” and we need to be proactive in fixing the problem.

Who goes to the gym four times a week and does body pump, spin, high intensity work outs and then sits all day?

Yoga

Below are 3 inexpensive ways to make yourself move!

Centralise Printers

Moving printers to a central location creates a “movement opportunity”. The more of these within the day the better. When you stand up and move, have a little stretch and take a deep breathe!

Walking meetings

The benefits of walking and stand up meetings are well documented. Whilst the physical benefits are obvious, the sharpening of the mind and the productivity output is my favourite aspect of the walking meeting. With the likes of Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg employing this method, why not join the elite and sharpen up your mind?

Work from anywhere and everywhere!

Agile working is the future of every office environment. Australia’s largest companies are all moving to “agile working”, “hot desking”, “flexi-desking” and insert any other appropriate corporate buzz words here.

Agile working encourages collaboration and creativity within the workplace. Smart technology enables us to work from anywhere and everywhere (perhaps this is part of the problem). The irony of course in this is that the developments in technology have made us sit more, when in fact maybe the intention was to free us up to move!

If you can mix up your day with standing, sitting, walking and working – you will be in good shape for the future.

 

Tom Bosna is the Principal Physiotherapist and Director at Pinnacle Health Group. With 10 years’ experience in Corporate Health and Wellbeing, you can expect a common-sense approach to any musculo-skeletal issues. Feel free to ask Tom any questions on tom.b@pinnaclehealthgroup.com.au. Tom is available from Monday to Friday at Flinders St, 120 Collins and Docklands. Contact Us today!