3 Tips For Creating A Healthier Workplace

What comes to mind when we say “creating a healthy workplace?” Snacking on healthier food choices or sitting in an active seating chair, or maybe even creating a mentally healthier mind. There are several different things that someone can do to ensure that they are working in a healthy environment.

Healthy Workplace

1. Stop the Spread of Germs

One of the biggest complaints is breaking the chain of germ transmission between employees. It’s so easy to pick up a virus working so closely with people, especially this time of year. You use the same coffee maker; you push the same button on the copy machine. Even a simple hand shake can lead to a cold of flu. That’s why you must break that chain of germ transmission and wash, wipe and sanitize… repeat, if you must!

2. Make Healthy Food and Drink Choices

What about healthy eating or snacking? You spend most of your day at work, so it’s no surprise that your workplace eating habits can have a major impact on your health. We have a couple tips which may help you have proper nutrition at work.

First, you need to ditch the junk food; throw away those crackers and unhealthy snacks that you have stashed. Replace that junk food with balanced snacks like nuts, dried fruit, etc. Second, you must plan your meals and eat at least 3 healthy meals a day with at least two snacks.  Lastly, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! There is nothing better for you than water.

3. Start Moving! 

Healthy workplace

Working doesn’t have to mean sitting sedentary all day, you can actually use that time to work on your posture and your core. Everything that encourages movement is positive for your health, which is why active seating is a great option for sitting and is more than just wellness; it adds health into your everyday life! That’s why the OYO, muvman, swopper and 3DEE have become so widely popular.

Take these tips and apply them to your work environment. Have the whole office on board so you can be sure that your work place is clean and healthy.

~ Lindsay McIntyre

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Common Misconceptions About Swopper

Some of us have been sitting on a swopper for so long, it’s hard to remember how we first felt about it. It’s equally hard to imagine ever sitting on anything else for long periods of time. If we think back though, there was a time for each of us before we first encountered the swopper, and making the switch to active seating may not have been the easiest thing.

For those of you that are new to the idea of sitting in motion, we want you to know you’re not alone. Any questions or hesitations you may have were probably shared with all of us at one time, so we’d like to try and ease your mind. We’ve compiled a list of the most common misconceptions… just give us the opportunity, and we’ll show you these are nothing to fret over!

  1. I need a backrest.

No, you don’t. I will admit, this was one of my original concerns. I’m a sloucher. I understand in my head that the swopper is supposed to prevent that, but I was still a little stubborn about not having the option to use the worst possible posture I could come up with. Sitting up straight IS hard to get used to, but that’s the whole point. Your body needs to be re-trained to use the muscles it has. If you’re sitting on your swopper properly, your back isn’t even near the spot a backrest WOULD be.

  1. I can’t get any work done while bouncing, and once I start bouncing I won’t be able to stop!

This can be tricky, especially if you type all day. It may take some getting used to, but you will find a happy medium. Just to prove it can be done, I’m bouncing on my swopper air as I type this! The swopper allows so many movement options that you really can sit upright when you need to, lean side to side when reaching for things or when you need to stretch, and get in some bouncing when you really want to get your body moving.

  1. I’ll fall right off!

Well, you might. My daughters fall off the couch all the time, but we still keep those (the couches… and the daughters)!

  1. I need armrests.

No, you don’t. This was also my struggle, probably even more so than wanting a backrest. I’m prone to “golfer’s elbow” in both arms (nope, I don’t golf), and my elbows get very stiff if they stay in one position. I was concerned my arms would always be in pain without having anything to support them. However, much like anything else, my body has adapted and with strengthening over time, not having anything to rest on doesn’t bother me any longer.

  1. It’s too expensive.

The price point on a swopper is similar to other chairs in its class – it’s not the cheapest seat you’ll find, but it’s not the most expensive either.
To really consider the cost of the swopper, you have to also take into account what you are gaining and ask yourself how much your health and wellness are worth. How much will an injured back cost you in the long run? As an employer, how much can you save by ensuring your employees are in their best health, eliminating days off for injuries, doctor visits and even surgeries?

  1. I tried it, and my back hurts WORSE!

If this is the case, answer this: Is it the same pain you’re used to? Does it feel like the same old back pain, caused by a lifetime of not treating your back properly? Or is it more like the soreness you feel after a good workout? Chances are, that pain you’re feeling isn’t because the swopper is hurting you… It’s because you’re using muscles that have gone unused for far too long! Give the swopper a chance to really strengthen those core muscles, and we’re almost sure you’ll be impressed with your own results!

We hope once you give it a try you’ll understand just how we all feel about our swopper, despite what our initial reactions may have been. If you still don’t believe us, we do offer a 30-day return policy at swopper.com, in case you are not fully satisfied!

~ Aleta Simmons

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Why Transitional Sitting is the Ideal Way to Work

OK, I’ve got my new height adjustable work desk….now am I supposed to sit or stand?

By now we’ve all seen or heard the research about how bad those accumulated hours of sitting can be for the body. It’s scary, but proven. While it’s likely that chairs are never going to disappear from the work environment, one thing that should change is giving people the choice to work differently.

One option to work differently that has caught on like wildfire is the use of height-adjustable or standing desks. While it’s great to see people introducing and accepting the height-adjustable desks, standing static for long periods of time is not a reasonable expectation and could cause health issues of its own. It can be very fatiguing on the knees, hips, feet and back and also cause veinous issues. Research out of the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society is showing that prolonged standing is likely to contribute to lower-extremity and/or back disorders.

 

So if sitting all day is harmful and so is standing all day, then what is the ideal solution?

 

Transitional Sitting Positions or Active Sitting Positions is the Sweet Spot of this controversy. Being in transition between both sitting and standing is the best of both worlds and eliminates the ‘static’ component of sitting/standing stationary by replacing it with dynamic motion.  Transitional sitting allows the spine to stay neutral (like in a natural standing position) while allowing the individual to take the load off… literally.

These sitting positions also deliver the full ROI potential promised by height-adjustable tables. Why should an end-user spend a lot of money on a height-adjustable surface that offers infinite height ranges, yet only use the sitting or standing options?  What about the positions in between?  That is what we call the magic zone. Sitting at heights of 23” – 33” – dramatically opens the hip-spine angle, allowing the pelvis to rotate forward and maintain lower back curvature, i.e. neutral spine position.

The ideal way to achieve a transitional sitting workspace is to combine a height-adjustable desk with a Muvman motion chair. 

Muvman chair

With a 13” height adjustment range, Muvman allows you to go from a standard seated position, to perching, to full on standing. It gives you the option to sit/stand/lean all within one compact yet stylish, functional and fun chair. It has lateral and forward tilt motion, always motivating the user to engage leg, core and back muscles yet remain in a proper posture.

Muvman Stool

With its small footprint, when not in use it can easily fit under the desk out of the way. It has a weight of 13.9lbs, which means it can easily be moved to another location altogether (two users can share one stool – motivating each of them to change postures throughout the day).

Employers have learned (the hard way) that they can’t just take a chair away from someone and expect them to stand for hours – people just won’t do it!  However, if you offer them a chair that allows them to access transitional sitting positions (Muvman), they will truly get the full benefit of having that height-adjustable desk.

Transitional sitting provides the ideal set up for those in an office to remain healthy, active and in motion. All this combined is the true idea of what today’s “active office” should incorporate!

~ Sandra Bowie

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Making Music in Your Chair: Reasons Why Musicians Need a Swopper

As a fitness professional, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with many of most talented artists in the music industry. Traveling with them around the globe, I am glued to their sides monitoring their health around the clock. One place that I’ve spent more time with them than any gym, is the music studio.

Inside any studio is obstacle of unhealthy traps. From soda to candy, I work as a shield of protection keeping the artist fueled with the best in nutrition. However, there is one unhealthy area that many of my clients seem fall victim to … the studio chair.

Musician needs a swopper

It is here that the artist endures a host of unhealthy side affects while sitting static in a chair for hours, like muscle inactivity, poor circulation, a decrease in core strength, decrease in performance, as well as a rise in the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular illness.

These issues go unrecognized, which amazes me. Artists, like athletes, yearn to be tunneled throughout a state of peak performance through which their creativity will be exalted to its highest level. I tell them that poor circulation and lack of activity while sitting in a standard chair for hours, can hamper that creativity and performance they work hard for.

That is why I believe musicians are an ideal set to use a motion chair like a swopper. The side to side, up and down, and other gentle movements of the swopper open the flood gates of circulation allowing blood, nutrients and oxygen to sing powerfully throughout their body. Increasing performance, heightening concentration and driving awareness, the swopper results in clearer thinking and ultimately may aid in reducing those long, tiring and endless hours in the studio.

Musicians, a swopper may just be the best studio investment that you’ll ever make.

~ Jay Cardiello

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What Your Swopper Color Says About You

Last month, Jenn offered some ideas to personalize your office space, to make you feel more at home and help your co-workers get to know you better. A couple weeks ago, Sandra suggested some great talking points for convincing your boss to get you that motion chair you’ve had your eye on. Now you’re ready to order, and you’ve come to the hardest part: choosing the color!

Now, we know that some offices have specific designs and color schemes, but for fun let’s assume that your boss is letting you completely customize your space to best suit you, right down to your seat! How do you decide what to go with? Well, let’s take a look at what some of your options might say about you!

Black: The Ninja

Black Swopper

You are inconspicuous and efficient! You want people to take you seriously. You speak for yourself and don’t necessarily need your surroundings to express any differently. You are practical and maybe a tad serious, but people know they can count on you to get in, get out, and get the job done!

Brown: The Confidant

You are honest and trustworthy. Your co-workers and friends know they can depend on you. You are strong and powerful, and you’re the person most people would count on to wrangle up any tough situation before it gets out of control!

 

Blue: The Comforter

Blue Swopper

You are welcoming and caring, which gives you the ability to make anybody comfortable in almost any situation. Your co-workers see you as a beacon of peace when things get too stressful. You manage to stay calm while re-gaining control and order. You are dependable and generally cheerful because you don’t sweat the small stuff.

Yellow: The Ray of Sunshine

You are the cheery, bright light of the office. You could probably make the dullest office come to life with your smile alone. You love team building and probably won the three-legged race at the last office picnic!

Green: The Peacemaker

Green Swopper

You are calm and collected. You may be a bit of a dreamer, but you stay within realistic expectations. You can encourage others without making them feel overwhelmed.

Orange: The Social Butterfly

Orange Swopper

You are a true people person! You can get along with anybody and make friends easily. You are great at networking and bringing diverse groups of people together.

Pink/Purple: The Diva

You are fun and exciting! You refuse to be put in a box or anywhere your creativity isn’t free to flow. You have a strong attention to detail and take pride in a job well done.

Red: The Star

red swopper

You are bold and powerful. You are the life of any party, and you know how to make people smile and laugh. You are fierce and driven, you know what you want and how to get it! Others look to you for encouragement, enthusiasm, and inspiration.

As you can see, people can tell a lot about you by the colors and styles you choose. But wait… your favorite color isn’t a current swopper option?! Let us know! We have access to a variety of fabrics and patterns and would be happy to help you find the one that’s just right for you!

What’s your ideal swopper color… and can you guess mine?

Aleta Simmons, Swopper.com Customer Service Super Star!

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How to Convince Your Boss You Need a Better Office Chair

If you’ve been reading this blog for long, then you are probably aware of the health benefits that come with sitting on a swopper, muvman or other motion chair. The science behind the dangers of being sedentary is undeniable.

So how can you approach your boss with these facts to convince him or her that you need a better office chair? Well, before you approach the person who signs your paycheck, you better come up with some good reasons and information to back it up.

Here are a few facts to help in your quest to be more comfortable, healthy and productive:

1. Hey boss!!  My back hurts!!

Fact: Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  This can impact the employer’s bottom line financially.  In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.  Face it, if your job requires you to sit for hours on end in an uncomfortable position or chair, odds are your back is going to eventually have issues.  Our bodies weren’t meant to be so sedentary.  We were meant to move and a swopper will definitely help do that throughout your workday.

Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.

2. Hey boss! I’ll be more productive!

Fact: A new study shows that the right office chair boosts brain activity.

The way we sit every day at the office has a significant impact on our brain’s activity and on our ability to concentrate and perform. This has been revealed by a new study carried out by the Institute of Sports Sciences at Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany. In the test an electroencephalogram (EEG) was used to measure brain wave activities that indicate the level of alertness and concentration. The behavior of the test persons was also monitored during the test.  The test: office chair vs rigid stool vs swopper active chair.

The result: sitting on the swopper there was a significant increase in alpha, beta and theta brain waves, these being particularly related to the state of alertness. The participants were also able to solve many more tasks, with significantly shorter reaction times than in the tests using the rigid stool or conventional office chair.

3. Hey boss!!  I’ll be healthier!!

Fact: When using swopper many health and wellness benefits occur:

  • You maintain the natural “S” curve of the spine
  • The open hip/spine angle allows for better circulation throughout the body
  • It opens up the diaphragm allowing better breathing and increasing oxygen into the system
  • You’re getting a core stabilization workout that also includes the legs, back and shoulder muscle groups
  • It improves nourishment to the inter-vertebral discs
  • Active sitting assists lymphatic flow
  • You can combat static postures with gentle intuitive motion
  • Swopper provides a fun and energizing sitting experience!

All these combined can help prevent absenteeism!! And make for a happier employee!

4. Hey boss!!  Some insurance companies even recommend swopper to their customers!!

Fact: It’s true! Insurance companies are seeing how swopper is a proactive way to encourage a healthier way to work.  Being proactive can help reduce workers comp claims, and swopper can also be used to help get an employee back to work faster if they need to re-design their workstation and /or work style to do this.

Hey boss!!  I’d say this employee has a pretty good case for getting a swopper, wouldn’t you agree?? 

~ Sandra Bowie, Motion Seating Director

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Five Ways to Personalize Your Office Space

If you’re the typical office worker, you have a black monitor with a black tower or a black laptop, maybe a black phone and probably a black mouse and stapler. If you’re lucky, maybe you have acquired some fancy pins to stick your cheat sheets up with.

American’s spend an average of 47 hours a week at work. That’s a long time to be in a bland, boring, blank space. By taking strides to personalize and liven up your cube or office, you’ll feel re-energized and enthusiastic about spending time in your space.

Here are five ways you can personalize your office space:

1. Hang fabric up on your corkboard or even your cubicle wall! The pop of color will boost your creativity and help your colleagues get to know your personality.

fabric covered cork board

2. Put up a sign! (Everybody LOVES my sign.) This is an easy way to remind yourself daily of your work goals, ethics or outlook.

Attitude Sign

3. Post pictures of the people and things you love. This is my Penny puppy; she’s a true kid at heart and is currently featured as my screensaver on my computer. Having photos of family, friends or travel in your space will also help remind your colleagues that you have a life outside of the office.

Dog going down slide

4. Make a splash with a bright red Swopper Chair! (Okay, mine is grey/blue…but now I want RED!) Show your style and dedication to health by swapping out your boring, static office chair for a Swopper. It’s sure to cause an increase in visits from your co-workers who want to check your new chair out.

Red Swopper Chair

5. Stock up on your favorite edible things. Having a comforting cup of your favorite tea or a piece of dark chocolate at your desk is a great way to bring some of your comforts from home to the office.

Coffee Mug

Whatever makes you FEEL good will also help you work better! Even at work, it’s good to let your personality shine through the personalization of your workspace.

What do you do to make your workspace your own?

~ Jenn Lytle

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How Sitting Ruins Your Health…

Whether you are physically active or not, prolonged sitting is detrimental to your health. Dubbed as the ‘new smoking,’ prolonged sitting silently causes havoc on body from the moment you descend onto a chair. Researchers have shown such health risks include an increase in cardiovascular disease and up to a 20% drop in good cholesterol after just a few hours of sitting. With both work-loads and hours increasing, it is easy to understand how sitting is ruining your health.

Prolonged sitting

As a society, we understand that sitting at a desk carries negative effects with it. Simply put, our bodies are not meant to remain inactive. Many of us have implemented exercise programs to avoid the negative effects on the body. Unfortunately, daily walks on a treadmill do not protect one from the health risks associated with prolonged sitting.

To better understand this point and illustrate just how detrimental sitting can be to one’s health, I will interject myself into the seated equation. Relatively speaking, I exercise daily, follow a healthy meal plan with relatively no alcohol and am not overweight or obese.

Imagine that I am working a typical 8-hour day with a couple breaks away from my desk. From the moment I sit behind my computer, my body starts to burn calories at a slower pace. I begin to adjust myself back and forth in the chair, as my neck and back muscles tighten due to my body’s decrease in circulation and my now forward lean showing early signs of fatigue. As I grow more lethargic, unbeknown to me my insulin levels are beginning to drop. I even start to find myself growing hungry, though I have not moved much since sitting down. Why is this? Well, my appetite regulating hormones are thrown off, and I am losing concentration while growing increasingly stressed.

Compounding this over time, my health risks start to manifest themselves: weight gain, muscle atrophy, poor posture, higher cholesterol, a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, prostate cancer and early death.

In the gym, I cannot compete with negative effects of the chair, and it is more than just posture. Because of the rounding of my back, I now run the risk of shoulder issues when performing anterior strengthening protocols. My days of running without struggling for air are long winded. Due to the fact that my lungs have to work so much harder with my newly positioned forward tilt in my upper back, each run feels like a marathon instead of a mind clearing experience.

In the end, I retire from years behind a computer and now have the pleasure of spending my ‘Golden Years’ with a heightened risk of orthopedic concerns, illness and an early death.

This story sounds so familiar for many. Fortunately, I want you to know that you can counteract the health risks associated with prolonged sitting just by remaining active at your desk and implementing a good system of getting up and taking a few-minute break every hour. Remember, it’s your life and you are worth it!

~ Jay Cardiello

Jay Cardiello is a Wellness and Fitness Expert who has worked with such people as 50 Cent, Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Seacrest, Kevin Love and Sofia Vargara. Cardiello has also spent time in the professional coaching ranks with such teams as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Reds Baseball Organization. Aside from his coaching attributes, Cardiello acts as the SHAPE Fitness Editor at Large and is a Contributing Editor at Muscle & Fitness and Men’s Fitness. As well as the Residential Celebrity Trainer for OK and STAR Magazines. Cardiello is the Co-Founder of Off the Scale (a Prescription Based Health Care Initiative Program to help combat Obesity). He has also authored the book, Cardio Core 4×4 and Founded the 20-Minute Body Weight workout of the JCORE.

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Five Ways to Boost Creativity During Brainstorming Sessions

The brainstorming session. We’ve all been there, stuck in the conference room willing our brains to come up with the next big idea, only to be left struggling with the same three ideas over and over. Turning your creativity on when necessary can be a difficult task for many.

The good news is, there are ways to train your creative side to flourish. Below are five ways to help you unlock your creativity and wow your coworkers.

Creativity during Brainstorms

1. Get Moving! When you move by sitting on a Swopper, you increase circulation and blood flow to your brain, help your muscles relax into proper position and breathe deeper by opening your diaphram. All this helps get your brain working more effectively, which should help increase your creative juices.

2. No Bad Ideas. Resist the temptation to think or verbalize why an idea would not work. Instead, stop those negative thoughts before they start by creating a “no bad ideas” rule in brainstorms. This means no one is allowed to talk about why an idea wouldn’t work in that meeting, only build upon ideas no matter how silly they may seem. Use later meetings to hone in on ideas and discuss their viability.

3. Set Expectations in Advance. Often in creative meetings, one or two people can dominate the conversation. By setting expectations before the meeting that each person must present at least three ideas, you can get people thinking ahead of time and make the conversation more diverse.

4. Bring Creative Toys. Sometimes the best way to get creativity to come out is to engage all your senses in creative activities. It’s a good idea to create a “brainstorming bag” that contains creative toys like silly putty, markers and paper, small musical toys and tasty foods.

5. Write it Large. When ideas are being fired off rapidly, it’s easy to forget what was previously said. Enlist the help of a note taker to write every idea down on large poster board sized paper stuck all around the room. This way, everyone can see the ideas and build off them as the session progresses.

To be perfectly clear, being creative takes time and opportunity, but with proper practice and the right environment, you and your work team can excel at the task of coming up with killer ideas. For more ideas on how to inspire creativity, check out this infographic from Entrepreneur Magazine.

So get motivated, get back on track, and start thinking MAYBE, just maybe, you’ve got this creative bug…now go use it!

~ Jenn Lytle

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Five Professions That Need to Use Muvman Stools

Every time I present muvman to people they always love all the features and functions of the stool, the health and wellness benefits and the dynamic design.  Then as they play with it, you can see the wheels spinning in their head as to where they could utilize muvman.

Often in my day to day life, I come across people at their place of work and think “they could really benefit from a muvman.” Really anyone who spends much of their day standing or transitioning from a sit to stand position is primed for a muvman stool. 

I thought it would be fun to list out the top five professions I think could benefit the most from using a muvman.

Muvman Stool at work

  1. Lab/Pharmacy/Specialized Medical Procedures – most pharmacists work at higher counters, often standing for long periods. They also work in tight spaces that require freedom of movement. To me, the muvman is the perfect companion for these healthcare workers.The size of muvman is perfect for tight pharmacy space.  People who work with microscopes love muvman as it helps eliminate the “hunchback” posture due to the natural 4 degree forward tilt.   Also since there are typically a number of employees utilizing the same space, muvman can easily be adjusted to fit each individual.
  1. Architects/Designers – these folks often congregate around large project tables reviewing large plans or researching finishes and samples.  These meetings can be quite lengthy so muvman offers them options to perch or stand.  Also, being in the design business, they need to relay a look of high design themselves, present their firm as being cutting edge…and nothing says that better than muvman.
  1. Assembly & Manufacturing – many times these jobs can require an individual to do repetitive work, often not moving around too much, or working at height adjustable benches.  Having the option to perch on a muvman, but still have lateral motion to reach for tools, adjust up and down and/or move things down the line can cause less fatigue throughout their workday.
  1. Kiosks – I think anyone who works behind or in a kiosk situation is in a perfect position to use a muvman.  They typically have little room, stand for long periods of time, yet need to look at and be engaged with their customer.  Think of all those kiosks you see in the malls- Verizon, perfume/cosmetic etc…
  1. Bank Tellers – this is a no brainer!  Think of every bank teller you’ve ever dealt with….they stand!  Even if they have a typical stool to use, they don’t because it’s too big and bulky for their space and makes them sit further away from the counter and customer.  Then they are having to “hunch” forward to reach everything they need to do. The muvman is a great solution for anyone working as a bank teller.

These are only 5 areas, and as we know the applications are endless – elevator operators, high tech, higher education, gaming, hospitality, hobbyists, security guards, libraries, newscasters, toll booth operators, airline and car rental counters, muscians, mail sorters etc.  THE OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS.

Again….the 2 key points to remember about what jobs are ideal for a muvman:

  • Work areas that can go from a sit to perch to stand position.
  • People who are required to stand for long periods of time.  Muvman can alleviate the fatigue that comes with that.

Do you think people in your occupation could benefit from a muvman? Leave a comment with what you do.

~ Sandra Bowie, Motion Seating Director

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