By J.A. Giresi
Exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle, but many people worldwide are afflicted by sedentary jobs where they work eight to 12 hours a day or longer. Many have said that “sitting” is the new “smoking” because of the stress it puts on your body in general.
Devices such as the VARIDESK, which allows the user to go from sitting to standing, can help to give you a break during the day. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine states if you can move around every half hour or so, you’ll live longer!
Researchers studied adults over age 45 for four years, and found that a sedentary lifestyle is indeed a health risk. The study found that out of the 7,495 adults tested, 340 died. In most cases, the adults who had a more “sedentary” lifestyle were causing themselves to end up in an early grave, but the adults who moved around more throughout the day lived longer— plus, they had less joint, back and neck problems. Researchers used a hip-mounted accelerometer to monitor the subjects, and found that adults who sat for prolonged periods of time had a greater risk for all-cause mortality and a higher risk for joint problems.
So, what can you do? If your employer allows it, try asking for a desk that allows you to go from a sitting to a standing position, especially if you are a sedentary employee. Standing for brief periods is just as good as walking. Also, use your lunchtime and breaks to take brief walks. You don’t have to use your entire lunch hour. Sometimes, 15 minutes per day— twice a day— is good for your cardiovascular system and joints.
Don’t forget to exercise. Exercise doesn’t always mean an expensive gym membership. There are several bodyweight exercises that allow you to use your own weight as resistance to help balance weight loss and keep your muscles in shape. Even standing up and walking around the house before going to work can help.
If you telecommute, like so many of us do, set a timer to get up, and move every half hour. It doesn’t have to be a full high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, but something as simple as standing up for about 10 minutes at a time. In fact, when you take a phone call, stand up and talk. Not only will you come across as more confident, but you’ll be helping your body, too.
While the study did not represent the general United States population (study participants were Caucasian and African-American), the data is clear— getting up during the day every half hour, whether it’s standing at your desk for about 10 minutes at a time, or taking that walk on your break— can help you to lead a healthier lifestyle.