You need to periodically sit down, stand up and move around throughout the day. By switching from one posture to another frequently, you get all the benefits of movement and mitigate the risks associated with inactivity. It’s important to start slowly — stand for short periods such as five minutes per hour, and then steadily work your way up to longer intervals. As a benchmark, you should change your position every 30 minutes, working to reduce workday sitting by half.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Betsey Banker, CWWS, CWWPM, the wellness educator at Ergotron. Betsey has experienced firsthand the transformative impact that movement can have on worker well-being. At Ergotron, Betsey is a trainer, catalyst and coach, helping others to understand and embrace the importance of movement within their own lives and those they influence. Her responsibilities include raising awareness of the harmful impacts of a sedentary workstyle, creating tools to aid organizations in the adoption and implementation of movement–friendly workstations and helping them achieve measurable results.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your backstory?
You are so very welcome! Thank you for the interest in me. I have a degree in communications and a personal passion for healthy living, and the two came together in perfect harmony in my role at Ergotron. I am certified with the National Wellness Institute as a Corporate Worksite Wellness Program Manager (CWWPM), which enables me to apply my passion for wellness to the corporate world. In addition, I am pursuing my WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) credentials, which certifies my knowledge in human health and wellness in the built environment, and specialization in the WELL Building Standard. My training and certification help me, and Ergotron, transform how employees work and how students learn, giving them the tools to thrive.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Sure. It is a story in taking a chance and embracing the unknown. In 2010, I worked for a consumer electronics company that was then acquired by Ergotron. Unsure of what was next, I embraced the opportunity to adapt, learn and expand my skills. I had no idea how that attitude would ultimately shift and shape my career trajectory, taking me from a technical product marketing role to a more purposeful focus on health and well-being. Over time, and with constant support from my colleagues and bosses, I was given the tools, training and encouragement to pursue a career as a wellness educator, where I found my true passion and purpose.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
I am! Just recently, a group of Australian researchers published the results of a study measuring the long-term cost-effectiveness of adding more standing to the workday. Their data showed lower long-term health costs and more life years and health-related quality of life gains for individuals using Ergotron’s WorkFit™ Sit-Stand workstations along with a program to encourage movement throughout the day. The study was conducted in Australia and factored in healthcare costs and savings accordingly, but since office workers face similar health risk factors globally due to sedentary behavior, the potential outcomes are not limited to the Australian population.
The announcement of the results coincides with the recent World Health Organization (WHO) action plan to reduce physical inactivity by 10% by 2025. It’s exciting to see all the pieces coming together, and to continue looking for ways to influence policy and practice for everyone’s benefit.
Between work and personal life, the average adult spends nearly 11 hours looking at a screen per day. How does our increasing screen time affect our mental, physical, and emotional health?
An increase in screen time typically means more sedentary behavior. Uninterrupted periods of sitting prevent our bodies from performing key health-promoting functions. Researchers have found that sitting for six or more hours during the workday increases your chance for mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression. It leads to fatigue of both mind and body, which impacts our choices throughout the rest of the day. Your metabolism is like a battery — movement charges the battery and sedentary behavior drains it. Spending 11 hours a day looking at a screen doesn’t leave you feeling energized or motivated to make other health-promoting decisions. It creates a vicious cycle that puts us at a higher risk for discomfort, disease, disorder and even premature death.
Can you share your top five ways people can improve mental wellness and create a healthy relationship with technology?
● Embrace a movement mindset. It’s time to rethink our cultural conditioning towards sitting. Sitting should be used as a restful and recuperative posture, not a default position. Start looking for opportunities to change the spaces where you work and relax, in order to make them more movement-friendly. When out and about, look for opportunities to move more — for instance, standing while waiting at an airport or doctor’s office.
● Make the mind-body connection. Changing your habits and conditioning leads to a better mind/body connection. Our use of technology often prioritizes the mind over the body, when the two should be balanced. By increasing awareness and challenging long-held beliefs about sitting, it opens up the opportunity to listen to your body again and respond to its cues to sit, stand and move.
● Adopt the Sit-Stand Switch™. You need to periodically sit down, stand up and move around throughout the day. By switching from one posture to another frequently, you get all the benefits of movement and mitigate the risks associated with inactivity. It’s important to start slowly — stand for short periods such as five minutes per hour, and then steadily work your way up to longer intervals. As a benchmark, you should change your position every 30 minutes, working to reduce workday sitting by half.
● Know your ergonomics. Whether you’re sitting or standing, pay attention to your body. Many people today spend so much time at their desks in a fixed position in front of a computer screen, and the wrong posture can result in long-term health issues such as neck pain, spinal injuries and wrist problems like carpal tunnel. Ergotron’s Ergonomic Equation tool provides some quick tips for how to position your body in order to practice good ergonomics (click on the Learn More button for more detailed tips).
● Take breaks! Take mini breaks to look away from your computer screen and stretch. Ergotron compiled a list of stretches and exercises that can be done at a desk, along with other tips for leading a healthy workstyle. https://www.ergotron.com/tips
51% of Americans say they primarily use their smartphone for calls. With the number of robocalls increasing, what are ways people can limit interruptions from spam calls?
I use a caller ID mobile app that’s pretty good at identifying spam calls. I think the bigger issue regarding mental health is getting calls, notifications and alerts into the evening, throughout the night or early in the morning. Create a do not disturb schedule so your phone will be quiet for a few hours before bedtime and until you wake up in the morning.
Between social media distractions, messaging apps, and the fact that Americans receive 45.9 push notifications each day, Americans check their phones 80 times per day. How can people, especially younger generations, create a healthier relationship with social media?
Turn off instant notifications! Sign up for a weekly digest or turn off notifications all together. Designate a certain time each day to be “phone social.”
80% of smartphone users check their phones before they brush their teeth in the morning. What effect does starting the day this way have on people? Is there a better morning routine you suggest?
Before you check your phone first thing in the morning, take a few minutes for a mindfulness routine. Take a few deep breaths and check in with your body. Set an intention for the day so you can more easily set priorities and focus on what’s most important.
Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote?
Mine is a lesson, not a quote. Be curious! The most empowering, creative, interesting and life-changing events in my life have all resulted from being curious and having an eagerness to learn and try new things.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Ergotron’s uprising to sit less and move more has that potential. We currently focus on increasing movement with standing desks, and I would expand the scope to also address nutrition, sleep and stress, which I believe are the other key pillars of health.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Originally published at medium.com