Are you an office animal? Why you should be more like a Flamingo!
The flamingo is well known for standing on one leg. What we can learn from the flamingo is the benefits of standing and weight shifting. You may have heard the expression that “sitting is the new smoking”.
What this means is that as our lives have become more sedentary our risk factors for cardiovascular disease, overweight and diabetes are all increasing.
Sitting is associated with greater pressure on the spinal discs and reduction in postural muscle strength and stability. Standing work may be an option for many people but good posture still needs to be maintained in standing and requires careful consideration of equipment height, work techniques and perhaps giving up the high heels for some flats.
To be more like the flamingo you can:
- Start working in standing, start with 10 minutes per hour and build up
- Set up timers for alternating between postures and modify for how you are feeling on any given day
- It is important to gradually increase your time in standing and if you have a pre-existing injury to take advantage of a workplace ergonomic assessment
- Ensure your work area is set up for standing work
- Below elbow height for heavy work such as woodwork
- Just below elbow height for light work such as keyboard work
- Slightly above elbow height for fine, precision tasks e.g. fine craft activities
- A small footstool can be placed on the ground and from time to time you can prop a foot to encourage pelvic tilt and alternation of posture
- Maintain the natural 3 curves of the spine
- Try to build short walking breaks into your routine, walk to see colleagues rather than calling or emailing, walk to pick up printing and photocopying
The flamingo has a very flexible neck and they have ten vertebrae compared to a human’s seven. Extra fun fact, even though giraffes have a super long neck, it is nowhere near as flexible and has the same number of neck vertebrae as humans.
Check out our great posters that you can hang around the office to help remind you to be more like a flamingo.