All this inactivity increases our risk for multiple conditions, including obesity, heart disease and unhealthy levels of cholesterol. People who sit for more than 23 hours per week are 64% more likely to die from heart disease than their active counterparts. But daily exercise is only part of the solution. Without regular breaks from hours of sitting, 45 minutes on the treadmill at the gym may not stave off serious health conditions like high blood pressure and heart attack. Fortunately, short, frequent breaks can help. Even a minute or two every 30 minutes can reap many positive health benefits. Here are some ideas to get you moving!
The easiest thing to do is to get up and take a stroll around the block or even just the perimeter of your building. Set a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to move.
March in Place
Many people live in colder climates and are unable to walk outside throughout the long winter months. Marching in place is enough to get the heart pumping and the blood moving. Lift your knees high and swing your arms for maximum benefit.
Squats, Lunges and Pushups
These are all exercises that can also be performed in a small cubical or office space. They are great for toning muscle and will also increase your heart rate as cardiovascular activities.
Even getting up to stretch can reap some benefit. The movement alone causes muscles to contract instead of sitting idly for hours. Some stretches offer additional benefits as well. Side bends build core strength which is good for posture and stabilizing the body during exercise, which in turn reduces risk of injury. Quadriceps stretches performed on one leg have a balance component which over time can reduce risk of falling, and also build core strength.
By standing up and moving even for just two minutes every half hour during an eight hour workday, you are increasing your activity level by 32 minutes every day, and more than two and a half hours every week. This is enough to begin to offset the negative health outcomes we incur due to long periods of inactivity. Isn’t your health and well being worth two minutes twice an hour?