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These execs have cure for sitting disease


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Suzanne Brett's ball chair

Catherine Monson is a stand-up franchise executive. Fastsigns’ CEO has taken the standing desk one step further and included a treadmill. The only downside, Monson says she’s found so far to never sitting at her desk is the change in her footwear—flats. “I know this disappoints friends who like amazing high heels,” she says, sighing as she adds that she’s had all her pantsuits hemmed for flat shoes. (She does have heels at the ready.)

The average person sits for 7.7 hours a day, and some surveys estimate people sit for up to 15 hours, according to JustStand.org. Scientists warn that desk jockeys are racing to serious health problems, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes and depression.

Monson is already fit—she works out at least five times a week, watches what she eats and take supplements, in addition to wearing sensible footwear—but according to medical reports, even working out at the gym can’t counteract the abuses of prolonged sitting. Standing helps burn calories, increases energy and tone muscles, reports JustStand.org.

Monson's treadmill is set at around 1.4 mph, so there’s no heavy breathing when she's talking on the phone or meeting with colleagues who are perched on bar stools so they’re at eye level.

“This is a stroll,” she says of the speed.

Catherine Monson

Catherine Monson on her treadmill desk

Meanwhile, over at Minuteman Press, Suzanne Brett is trying to counteract the ills of sitting by using a ball chair. “I hate just sitting here eight hours a day,” she says, adding even the copy machine is close by. “I heard a lot about the ball chair and decided to try it.” So far, so good. In addition to enabling her to stretch, work her core and ease her back pain, the chair has been a local draw. “Everyone wants one,” she says of her co-workers who stop by to try it.

Franchise Times is also on the ball when it comes to sitting. Senior Graphic Designer Joe Veen stores a large stability ball in his office for editors to sit on when going over design. Nothing helps stoke the creative fires more than the nearby gentle bouncing of a wordsmith asking for a change in fonts or a more flattering picture in their column.

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