For years, workers sat in corporate-issued metal chairs, and no one gave it a second thought. But there’s a growing body of evidence pointing to the health hazards of prolonged sitting, which has helped put ergonomics on Corporate America’s radar.
While the idea of designing office equipment that supports the body’s movements might seem relatively new, ergonomics – also known as human factors engineering – emerged as a real concern during World War II for the performance and safety of military aircrafts, naval ships and large-scale weapons.
Since then, researchers have linked prolonged periods of sitting with health concerns such as obesity and metabolic syndrome – the latter of which is a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and dangerous cholesterol levels. They’ve also found evidence that too much sitting increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to James Levine, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic.
More on the ergonomic makeover on EHS Today.