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Sitting and your Heart Rate

As work and lifestyle trends in our society continue to shift, people tend to sit more and move less. While this might seem ideal for many people, what they aren’t realizing is that this is increasing the risk they face for cardiovascular disease. According to the New York State Department of Health, people who are less active in their daily lives have a 30 to 50 percent higher risk of having high blood pressure and other heart problems. This means that most of us, especially if we are among the 88 million Americans over age 15 who are reported to be physically inactive, face an increased risk associated with high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.

There is a direct link between a high heart rate and cardiovascular disease. It has been studied and shown that decreased heart rate is heavily connected to a decrease in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The logic behind this observation is simple. A lower hearth rate requires the heart to work less; it does not have to pump as much or as hard to keep up with the blood flow demanded by a high resting heart rate. Thus, the oxygen and energy demands of the heart are also lowered by a decreased heart rate. Simultaneously, this results in a healthy, increased amount of coronary blood flow.

Of course, the best way to lower your heart rate and increase the circulation in your body is by participating in regular physical activity. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services:

“Participation in regular physical activity—at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on at least five days per week, or 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity at least three times per week—is critical to sustaining good health.”

Yet, USAToday reports that only 31% of the population moves this much, while 40% do no regular leisure time physical activity.  Because having a low resting heart rate improves health conditions, for individuals who fail to move frequently, it is imperative to find additional ways to lower their heart rates.

For many adults, lack of movement is due to office jobs and extensive computer use during leisure time. To combat the problems associate with this, the key is to design an office task chair that can both lower your heart rate and allow your body to move more freely and flexibly while sitting, enabling your blood to circulate more effectively through your body. To this end, VersaTables has carefully crafted office task chairs that promote healthy movement and circulation, while also encouraging efficient user interfacing.

The Challenge in Office Chairs

Many well-intentioned office task chairs actually restrict healthy body movements, and because improved blood circulation is contingent upon the body’s ability to naturally and comfortably move, these chairs present health hazards. These sorts of chairs have ordinary seats that are stiff and inflexible. They are composed of heavy materials. They are usually not adjustable, and if they are the adjustable points are lacking and located at odd points. The stiff frame of such a chair makes reclining difficult and this kind of chair does not have a star base.

These are just the sort of chairs that have employees calling in absent to work due to back pain—the culprit that 2% of all yearly work absenteeism is attributed to in the United States. This costs our economy 31.3 billion dollars due to decreased productivity and lost workdays annually.

The Design Solution

Instead, what is needed is a chair that promotes focused movement and flexibility, a chair that controls contact temperature and offers ergonomic support.  A chair of this nature would:

  • Reduce pressure on the spine, groin, and thighs
  • Increase the flow of oxygen
  • Conform to a user’s subtle movements
  • Adjusts to the user’s spine shape and movement, encouraging more flexible movement
  • Evenly distributes pressure and weight for heightened stability
  • Broaden the sitter’s chest to allow freer, deeper breathing
    • This would decrease the amount of breaths taken per minute

Ultimately, the chair would need to be designed in order to improve the flow of oxygen, resulting in lowered heart rate, while encouraging the user to make more subtle movements.

VersaTables’ Task Chairs

With the above goal in mind, VersaTables has combined knowledge of circulatory system and heart health with knowledge of ergonomic work principles to integrate the following elements into each of our task and office chairs:

Lower Lumbar Support Region

Each of our chairs, such as The Resolve Basic Task Chair, are complete with a superior lower lumbar support function. This ergonomic design reduces pressure on the spine, particularly across the lumbar region. The lumbar support in each of our chairs follows the natural curve of the human spine, providing contact and support at all needed points.

Deluxe Cushioned Poly-Foam Seat

The unique composite material of poly-foam seats  allows for each chair seat to form to the user’s body shape, providing full support along all the body’s spine, pelvic and thighs pressure points. Further, poly-foam seats evenly distribute pressure and weight, as well as provide for core temperature management.

High-Density Fiber Weave

High-density fiber weave, like the kind used on the Innovation Task Chair, promotes airflow through the office chair to the user, helping to manage your body’s core temperature, ensuring that you stay cool while working. This fiber weave also helps to broaden the sitter’s chest. The supportive flexibility of this material also helps users to broaden their chests while sitting. This promotes deeper breathing, helping oxygen and blood flow more easily through the body’s system.


All of our chairs, like the Harmony Task Chair, come with one-touch lift height adjustment and adjustable arms, which is important for ergonomic and comfortable working. In terms of circulation and oxygen flow, it is more important to note that each of our office chairs provides for easy tilt adjustment. This enables users to comfortably shift and change positions in their office chairs without interrupting the flow of their work.

With the increase in technology and the world’s increased pace, people are finding it more and more difficult to take the time to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. With the amount of people who remain stationary and the number of hours for which remain stationary, it is apparent that there needs to be ways for them to still maintain heart health while still maintaining high performance functions. A chair that provides proper support for healthy posture and allows for small, comfortable movements can be a perfect solution to positively affect the cardiovascular system without decreasing efficiency and productivity.

How To Improve Oxygen Flow While Seated

Any basic biology class is sure to cover one of the core principles of cell health and construction: cells need oxygen. In order to burn energy, cells rely on oxygen transported to them by blood in the body. The body’s blood flow exchanges fresh oxygen to cells for the carbon dioxide they produce as waste. If this exchange does not take place, the carbon dioxide in a cell can cause the cell to malfunction, and even die. The human body is made up of hundreds of thousands of cells, and regardless of cell type, each relies on this basic exchange to promote good cell health, und ultimately, good human health.

Sitting Obstructs Blood Flow

We know that there are many health problems associated with our ever increasing sedentary lifestyles. From an increased risk of diabetes to back aches, sitting too much is certainly something we are paying for with our happiness and our health. Too many of us—nearly 50 million Americans, according to ScienceDaily—have a nearly constant sedentary work-play routine, and certainly individuals with physical disabilities who may be confined to a wheelchair, suffer the consequences of prolonged sitting.

One such consequence is decreased blood flow. When a person sits or lies down, doing so hampers the ability of blood to flow easily and freely throughout the body. This is the reason it can seem as if certain parts of your body “fall asleep” when sitting too long. In the seated position nearly half of your body weight rests on the pelvic region, more specifically, the ischial tuberosities.

The small ischial tuberosities refer to delicate knobs at the base of the pelvis, often commonly called the “sitting bones.” While the body’s buttocks are designed to carry the bulk of the load whenever sitting, in many of today’s sitting arrangements, more pressure is actually placed on the ischial tuberosities. As soft body tissues press down in this region toward the base of the pelvis, blood supply is reduced. Consequently, there is less exchange of oxygen rich delivery with carbon-dioxide waste takeout.

Oxygen Deprivation Kills Cells

While all body tissue can withstand a certain amount of oxygen deprivation, without adequate oxygen flow through tissue cells, those cells can die. Cell death results in tissue deterioration and presents a host of health problems.

Keeping adequate oxygen flowing to enable tissue perfusion is a major concern for people who use wheelchairs, due to disabilities. As carbon dioxide builds up in body tissue, metabolic functions of that tissue shut down and it becomes more likely that tissue will die. In fact, research indicates that in nearly 50% of the 1.4 million people who rely on wheelchairs for mobility pressure ulcers and tissue death are common. For this reason, alternative seating materials like gel and air bladders have been developed for use in wheelchair design and rehabilitation exercises. Wheelchair users are also taught and encouraged to do pressure relief pushups every hour.

For able-bodies sitters, the body’s natural inclination towards movement provides cues for pressure relief. Generally, an individual can only sit for approximately 30 minutes before they will begin to fidget. This fidgeting is the nervous system’s way of promoting more blood and oxygen flow. It acts as a micro-movement to temporarily shift body weight and pressure away from the ischial tuberosities.

Productivity Problems

Because people sit more than ever before, they consequently fidget a lot. In fact, if regular rest and restorative breaks  are not consciously incorporated into seated work, people will often become so uncomfortable that they will stand up from their chair and completely disengage from their work for extensive periods. In fact, according to a study performed by Miami University’s Center for Ergonomic Research:

“People who sit for long periods during their workday take an average of 47% more breaks than their counterparts who stood to work. Breaks were typically longer for sitting workers too.”

Clearly, this results in a loss of productivity.

What is needed are solutions that allow seated individuals to relieve pressure from the soft tissues surrounding the ischial tuberosities while seated, as well as more education and training about the importance of sit-stand workflow.

Seated Solutions

At VersaTables, we fully embrace the ergonomic principle that work and machine should be designed around the people who engage with them. To this end, we have created several high-quality chairs that keep pressure distribution and movement in mind. The postural range, adjustability and shape of an office task chair can all promote physical movement, without resulting in productivity loss.

Deluxe Cushioned Poly-Foam Seat

The unique composite material of poly-foam seats allows for each chair seat to form to the user’s body shape, providing full support along all the body’s spine, pelvic and thighs pressure points. Further, poly-foam seats evenly distribute pressure and weight, as well as provide for core temperature management.


All of our chairs, like the Harmony Task Chair, come with one-touch lift height adjustment and adjustable arms, which is important for ergonomic and comfortable working. In terms of circulation and oxygen flow, it is more important to note that each of our office chairs provides for easy tilt adjustment. This enables users to comfortably shift and change positions in their office chairs without interrupting the flow of their work.

These features are exemplary of VersaTables’ innovative engineering. Such products help relieve seated pressure, improving oxygen flow through the body. This, in turn, creates a healthier and more comfortable seating solution, allowing people to engage with their work with an increased focus and attention.

Standing Solutions

Certainly, along with using a supportive and ergonomic office task chair, the ability for seated workers to adopt sit-stand workflow practices is ideal. A sit-stand workstation connects all human physiological systems, integrating physical, mechanical and biochemical functions for the best possible health.

In a sit-stand work arrangement, an individual can easily move from seated work, to ergonomically correct standing work. Of course, in order to effectively do so, appropriate and adjustable office furniture is needed.

VersaTables is proud to offer premium sit-stand computer furniture for healthy workstations. Our sleek and contemporary designs fit seamlessly into office, home, medical and educational settings, while the furniture features promote healthy, ergonomic standing movement.

Computer Fusion Carts

Consider, for example, our computer fusion car line. These products, like The Deluxe Fusion Cart, are among the most versatile fusion carts manufactured. With steel casters and a push handle, they move easily and smoothly, and are compact enough to maneuver through tight spaces or be stored in a closet. Each component adjusts independently and with a full range of adjustability, it is easy to work at this station either seated or standing.

Versa Center Workstation Series

Ranging in size from a 24” work surface to a 72” work surface, these work stations are designed to be the most functional and flexible on today’s office furniture market. They provide for maximum space efficiency, securely supporting PC equipment, while also enabling full range adjustability to facilitate sit-stand workflow.

Deluxe Height Adjustable Computer Tables

With work surfaces ranging from 30” to 72”, our adjustable computer tables offer a more traditional desk surface that is still completely adjustable in nature, making them the most ideal sit-stand solutions for office, home and classroom use today.

In a society where sitting, as opposed to movement, has become standard, we seek to lead the revolution to healthier working solutions. By providing computer furniture pieces that promote healthy, ergonomic workflow we continually challenge offices, educational institutions and medical facilities to place priority on the health of their employees, patients and students.

Benefits of a Sit-Stand Workstation

For years, ergonomists have been recommending flexible workstations that allow the worker to easily transition from sitting to standing. This recommendation is based off of studies done on the benefits of postural changes. Standing is actually the simplest non-exercise activity you can do. Standing up from a seated position sends a wake-up call to your body, kicking systems that have become dormant back into action.

Studies have demonstrated that changing positions throughout the work day helps prevent physical stress from accumulating. Moving your body also increases circulation, which in turn provides a better oxygen flow to the brain and soft body tissues and results in an improved attention span. Sit-to-stand flexibility in a workstation offers the most opportunity for range of movement and posture for employees. It allows them to alternate from sitting to a standing position intermittently throughout their work day.

Standing helps avoid compression of the spine that results from long-term sitting, which reduces the risk of back pain. In addition, standing utilizes more muscles and reawakens energy reserves that often become dormant when we are sedentary. Standing for three hours or more at work has been proven to significantly reduce body weight and improve fitness. It also assists in jumpstarting both body and mind – getting the blood and the thoughts flowing again after being stagnant.  In fact, according to a study performed by Miami University’s Center for Ergonomic Research:

“People who sit for long periods during their workday take an average of 47% more breaks than their counterparts who stood to work. Breaks were typically longer for sitting workers too.”

Of course, there are more than simply productivity benefits to think about.

Sit-Stand Benefits

When your body engages in several different postures, as is possible with sit-stand workstations, it is benefited in numerous ways.

  • Leg, ankle, and foot muscles are strengthened
  • Blood clots in legs are prevented from forming
  • Balance is improved
  • Valves in the legs veins are compressed, which pushes blood upward toward the heart
  • Mind and body are more alert
  • The risk of cardiovascular disease is decreased
  • Continued movement is encouraged
  • “Mindless snacking” is reduced
  • Deep breathing can take place
  • Good HDL cholesterol levels are increased
  • Bad LDL cholesterol levels are decreased
  • Less fatigue is experienced
  • A more natural posture can be utilized
  • Better care and maintenance of the back can take place
  • Weight loss is facilitated

A sit-stand workstation connects all human physiological systems, integrating physical, mechanical, and biochemical functions for the best possible health. Sitting, or any other static posture, limits both the electrical and chemical methods which are used as communication between the two systems. Homeostasis is achieved when these two systems operate in a stable balance. When the body cannot control its systems efficiently, it results in an unstable internal environment. This condition can increase the risk of illnesses such as cancer.

Sit-Stand Workflow Is The Preferred Way To Work

Many factors are helping sit-stand workstations become a more respected, recognized, and cost-effective choice.

  • Research has indicated that sitting for extensive periods of time with the absence of full body motion, is what some are referring to as “the silent killer.” Sitting too much and too long makes you more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety—all of which can lead to a premature death. In fact, in July 2010, The American Cancer Society published a study reporting exactly this. After examining 123,000 participants, and considering the amount of time each spent sitting and engaging in physical activity, they found women who were inactive and sat more than 6 hours per day had a 94% higher risk of dying during the study than their counterparts who were more physically active and sat less than 3 hours per day.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders have been found to result from long term static postures. This can occur whether an individual is sitting or standing for an excessive amount of time. The ability to switch back and forth between the two is the key to preventing future issues for your muscular system. Additional tips on ways to avoid musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive stress injuries can be found here.
  • Productivity is increased when body movement is exercised. Standing increases energy, improves thought processes, and can potentially encourage teamwork among employees. Productively changing positions frequently and taking small breaks from sitting is an important ergonomic principle that actually enhances overall job satisfaction and productivity.
  • Obesity is a growing problem in our society. Standing burns more calories than sitting, and helps with weight control. According to the New York State Department of Health, approximately 35% of US coronary heart disease mortality is due to physical inactivity. This number becomes even more sobering in light of the fact that coronary heart disease is also the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 700,000 deaths each year.
  • Our workforce is progressively getting older. Movement and activities that require our bodies to practice balance skills, can help in the process of aging. This is especially true in the case of the aging RN workforce.
  • Ease of use and cost are enabling more and more companies to take advantage of sit-stand workstations. Systems are improving in design, becoming simpler and more effective to use.  Prices have also decreased significantly in recent years, and are continuing to drop as demand is increasing. VersaTables is proud to offer the most versatile and cost-effective Sit-Stand products on today’s market. Additionally, many of our sit-stand workstations, such as our Deluxe Height Adjustable Computer Tables, qualify for discounts when ordered in greater quantity.

Personally investing, or encouraging your management to invest, in high quality computer furniture that allows for sit-stand workflow is important. This type of adjustable furniture recognizes that work that honors movement and the full range of body motion is not just better for you, but for your company as well. VersaTables offers several sit-stand workstation options, and is also happy to provide custom furniture bids for your specific needs.

Seated Support for Our Individual Spines

Though we are all basically comprised of the same parts making up our wholes, it still stands to reason that everyone varies in size and shape and that no two people are alike. This concept is no different when it comes to our spinal regions.

Providing proper support for your spine is a crucial component when sitting while working. Understanding how the human spinal column is organized, and the manner of support and movement it requires can help you to treat your body and spine well.

Such knowledge also facilitates your understanding of choosing only the best office furniture that promotes proper posture for various individuals when seated or when standing.

The Human Spine

There are four main sections of the human spine:

  1. Neck (Cervical) – strong and flexible and supports the head
  2. Trunk (Thoracic) – upper middle section, connected to the rib cage, little range of movement
  3. Back (Lumbar) – the five largest vertebrae (lumbar vertebrae), high capability of movement
  4. Tailbone (Sancrum) – five fused vertebrae between the pelvic bone

A healthy, correctly aligned spine is shaped convexly in the thoracic area and concavely in the lumbar region. This is what comprises the common “S”-shape in our backs.

Because our spine is so delicately curved, it is important to consider what support we give to it in order to maintain the curves as the body moves from standing to sitting positions throughout the work day and during leisure hours.

To understand just how important your spinal needs are, consider that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that seated posture is one of the strongest elements in the workplace that puts individuals at risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

Individual Spinal Needs

Because everyone’s spines are different, there is a need for an adaptable, ergonomically-focused office chair that can generally maintain support for the spine while allowing the user’s individual proportions and movements to be safe and supported.

A chair that is healthy and supportive for the spine will possess these qualities:

  • Flexible sides will allow a user’s natural leaning and turning movement
  • The back needs to be more structural for added support
  • A “Y”-shaped spine allows sturdiness in the back, but still maintains flexibility in the torso
  • A supported sancrum area. This region, directly connected to the pelvis, affects the overall curvature of the spine. If you can control the positioning of the sancrum region of the spine and the pelvis, you will be able to maintain the healthy curve of your spine.

Of course, not only do our individual spinal support needs vary simply due to personal physical and genetic differences, they also vary according to our job type. By understanding the body positions most commonly associated with different working scenarios, you can better select an office chair that offers you the appropriate support.

Types of Computing Jobs & Descriptions

Consider the following descriptions:


This type of work scenario includes workers who perform data entry, word processing and secretarial tasks. In any given company, the number of workers who perform these duties might range from 5% to 40%.

Customer Service

This category includes workers that spend a significant portion of their day seated, answering telephone calls. Additionally, these individuals work at a computer for extended periods of time. Varying by company and industry, many corporations dedicate 10% to 60% of their workers to these duties.


Engineers, architects, drafting designers, computer programmers and software developers are all considered to be technical positions. The percentage of any given company’s employees that fall into this category can range from 0%-60%.

Professional positions include workers from departments like finance, marketing, human resources, facilities, services etc. These workers may account for 20% to 40% of a corporation’s workforce.


Workers in this category are generally senior level managers. They typically represent the smallest number of an organization’s workforce, at 5% or less.

Of course, every organization likely also has workers who do not fit into these general categories, however, these descriptions are used to represent the majority of office worker types, and guide the research and knowledge used in designing office chairs that can offer the best support based on such job and task analysis.

Job type & Seating Behavior

Because different work tasks require different movements, the type of office work that an employee engages in should be considered when choosing a chair to accommodate their typical working behavior.


Employees in this type of work tend to sit with upright posture for extended periods of time. These individuals could benefit largely from adopting a sit-stand workflow, and should use an office chair with arm rests that accommodates easy movement and is adjustable in nature.

Customer Service

Customer service workers change the posture of their upper extremities twice as often as other employees. The office chairs used in this population must allow for more movement and should not be restrictive.


Technical and professional workers recline in their office chairs more than any other worker, and they do so for nearly three times longer than other workers do. Because reclining seems to be the preferred posture for workers in this sector, they are forced to use an extended reach more when interfacing with their computer monitor, mouse or keyboard. A chair and desk arrangement that can move these tools closer to the worker should be investigated.


Workers in this category spend more time interfacing with other people rather than machines, for this reason their offices should utilize a comfortable computing chair and comfortable guest chairs. As much of their time is devoted to meetings, it is also recommended that they use ergonomically aware conference tables and furniture in their work environment.


In a busy office environment where sitting is necessary, but movement is key, having a well-designed chair that allows for individual flexibility while still providing support to all four regions of the spine is vital. Staying healthy and avoiding sore backs will help improve efficiency and productivity.

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