Improving Office Ergonomics With LifeSpans Product Line
Office work can be extremely rewarding if you follow your passion, but it can also be terrible for you. Let’s face it: Sitting all day is just about as bad for you as downing a whole 12-pack of sodas in one sitting. It’s becoming an epidemic, as we succumb to back problems, sciatica, and all of the other issues that come with a sedentary work lifestyle. Luckily, there are companies out there looking to combat the side effects of planting our derrieres in our chairs and staring at a screen all day.LifeSpan is one of them, taking a stand against the “plant your butt in your chair” lifestyle and fighting back with products of their own meant to offer functionality and options for professionals to lean on. This particular company has combined the genius of a standing desk with a treadmill, for example, to ensure workers are able to enhance their own personal productivity and get in shape while doing it. We spoke with LifeSpan President Peter Schenk about the company’s lifestyle brand and products meant to make “upstanding” citizens in the office.To understand LifeSpan, you’ve first got to understand the benefits the company’s products offer, especially when it comes to sedentary workers who aren’t sure how treadmill desks can aid them as part of a healthy lifestyle change in the first place.“LifeSpan replaces time spent sitting with time spent moving,” explained Peter Schenk. “If walking, standing or pedaling while working isn’t something you’re used to, we’ve found it takes a few weeks to adjust. The benefits are numerous, and studies have shown increased focus and energy, and a decrease in the risk of ailments caused by sedentary behavior.”It can be a massive change. For many workers, including those who have a less-than-optimal setup as home such as myself, it can be difficult to get used to standing and walking during an 8 or 10-hour shift, especially when Charley horses and sore calf muscles are a thing.”Switching to the kind of products LifeSpan provides (they’ve even got special bike desks if that’s more your speed) isn’t an instantaneous thing, but it can be a very real boon for your productivity and your body. How long can the adjustment period from sitting stationary at a desk to walking at a treadmill desk actually take, though?“Some of our users adjust immediately, while others can take up to two weeks or more,” confirmed Schenk in our interview. “Studies have shown that a learning curve does exist in adjusting to being active while working, but over a short period of time work efficiencies return to normal.”“In a number of instances employees will actually see their productivity increase past their prior capabilities. The trick is keeping it personal, though. Move in a way that is physically comfortable and suits the professional tasks you’re completing.”Of course, not everyone commutes to an office every day. Some workers can work from their home in supposedly comfy desk chairs and optimal office setups. But just because a desk is comfortable, and a chair is plush, that doesn’t mean it’s great for your body. All that sitting takes a toll. There are still things you can do, Schenk says, with LifeSpan’s products, to make your home office less of a deathtrap and more of a place for productivity and standing tall, sometimes quite literally.“We’ve seen our products utilized in home settings since our onset. We’ve actually enhanced our dedication to the home user, recently, shifting to not only include at-home professionals but school-age children as well. LifeSpan just introduced a bike desk designed for at-home use, called the LifeSpan Unity. It adds light exercise to common home office activities. And it aesthetically blends into the home, with a modest footprint and zero electricity requirements,” offered Schenk.You’ll need quite a bit of space for some of these products, as I learned myself, but if you’ve got a home office and an area for the product that works best for you, you should look into changing up potentially harmful habits. I’m sitting on a couch, for example, writing this piece, and my legs are cramped up beneath me. I could be getting my exercise on and staving off potential bodily issues that might crop up, but I guess I’m not one to listen very well. Luckily, LifeSpan attests that it’s still fine to sit — sometimes.“We absolutely support occasional sitting as long as it’s part of a healthy spectrum of daily postures. In the best environments, employees are given the freedom to sit, stand, pedal, or walk as they work, alternating their movements to fit their current task, environment and physical comfort. Employees without access to these benefits can still improve their wellbeing by stepping away from their work for a few moments every hour to stand or walk. Unfortunately, though, that kind of activity commonly requires them to disrupt whatever productivity they were currently engaged in.”So if you’re someone who finds themselves hunched over a desk most of your day and you need something to change up that cycle (perhaps literally) you might do well to look into LifeSpan’s product line.Disclaimer: I was offered the TR1200-DT7 Treadmill Desk for testing, but unfortunately I was not able to test it myself as my living space was not large enough. I have returned the treadmill desk. However, these opinions are my own, and I have not been paid for them or compensated for them.