In the spirit of full disclosure, I am writing this article because I need to heed my own advice. I need to pay attention to the warnings I am about to offer because I am guilty of sitting at my computer for hours on end without a break. I have a tendency to get into a “zone” while I am working on my latest creation (like this article) and not remembering to get up and move at least once an hour. The research is very clear, however: sitting at our desks without taking periodic breaks even if only to stand for a few minutes will most probably cut our lives short. Yikes! Related: 10 Reasons To Leave Your Desk At Lunch Experts have known since the mid-1980’s that there is a correlation between sedentary behavior like television viewing and weight status in children and adolescents. More recent studies, however, point to the fact that sedentary behaviors in adults also negatively influence our health. In case you are wondering, sedentary behaviors are characterized by minimal movement and very low level of energy expenditure for hours at a time. In an article entitled, “Sedentary Behaviors, Weight, and Health and Disease Risks,” sedentary behaviors are being associated with higher morbidity rates in adults. (Raynor, et al.) More specifically, adults who sit most of the time are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, weight gain and obesity. In short, sitting too much for too long without giving your body a movement or stretch break could very well contribute to your early death. Many of us find ourselves making our living by sitting in front of a computer most of our days and then sitting in front of the television to relax most of our evenings and weekends. Some of us are savvy enough to get out and exercise on a regular basis, but studies have shown that just getting exercise, even if it is regular exercise of moderate intensity a few times a week doesn’t counterbalance the need to move away from your desk periodically throughout the regular work day.
4 Reasons To Get Up From Your Desk Every Hour Or So:
1. Sitting for too long raises your chances significantly for type 2 diabetes.
2. Sitting for too long on a daily basis impairs the functioning of your healthy cholesterol (HDL).Moving more during the day is necessary to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. Sitting too long contributes to sore muscles in your back and extremities.Your body is not designed for sitting so many hours of the day. Your muscles need movement to be healthy.
4. You need to get moving to keep the brain sharp.Sitting and tending to one task for two long has detrimental effects on your creativity as well as your general productivity. So, what can you do about it if you have a job that requires sitting for long periods at a time? Make an “action plan” and then stick to it. Your “action plan” should include at least a few of the following:
- Make it a habit to stand a few minutes each hour even if it means standing while you work.
- Take the long route to the restroom each day to get in more steps and, therefore, more physical activity.
- Stand when you feel the need to take a break for water or coffee.
- During your lunchtime, go for a leisurely walk even if it is just a walk through the building.
- Stand when you are talking on the phone. (I have a tendency to pace when talking on the phone...I didn’t know it was a good thing, but I will keep doing it now that I know it helps.)
- Stretch periodically giving your back a break by stretching your back muscles. It may help you stay more flexible.
- Walk to a co-worker’s desk to ask a question or deliver a report instead of just emailing him or her.
- At home, take a leisurely walk after dinner. Walk with the family. This may be a great time to reconnect with your spouse or your children.
- Walk the dog daily twice a day. (Fido needs walks for proper health, too.)
- After reading a few pages of a book get up and move just a little. Give your body a break!