How Much Activity Overcomes a Day of Sitting?
Do you sit all day at a computer and then spend hours on the sofa? You're putting your health at risk. Research links excessive sitting to higher risk of diabetes and heart disease. In addition, sitting can lead to tight hips, neck and back pain, and even spinal problems. There is also evidence that suggests that prolonged sitting can lead to cognitive decline, depression, and anxiety. This is due to the decrease in physical activity, which can lead to decreased blood flow to the brain and decreased oxygenation of the cells. People who sit the most are twice as likely to die early compared to those who sit the least. So, what's the least amount of movement needed to offset the risks of sitting? Since a sedentary lifestyle is not healthy, how much movement do we need?
What Does the Research Say?
A recent study shows that walking one to two minutes every hour helped to control blood pressure. One of the main initiatives of the study encouraged employees to take walking breaks throughout the day. It was a simple solution to combat the dangers of prolonged sitting and the results were overwhelmingly positive. Employees reported improved energy levels, better moods, and reduced stress levels. This in turn led to improved productivity and job satisfaction.
There are much more significant benefits when the frequency increases to every half hour and the length increases to to 5 minutes. The effects were powerful: blood sugar spike reduced 60% with this method. It's already well established that exercise can help blood sugar, but short, frequent walks can be effective and can be done during the workday. Why are we focused on lowering blood sugar and blood pressure? One out of three adults are pre-diabetic and half have high blood pressure. These are the two key risk factors for heart disease, the leading cause of heart disease in the US.
Other Positive Effects
Additionally, it is important to engage in regular exercise, such as resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and stretching, to maintain good overall health. Resistance training can help to improve muscle strength and maintain healthy bones, while cardiovascular exercise can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Stretching helps to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury.
The dangers of prolonged sitting are clear, and it is important to take steps to counteract its effects. Whether it's taking a short walk every hour or engaging in regular exercise, there are numerous ways to maintain good health and reduce the risk of disease. The key is to find an approach that works for you and to make it a part of your daily routine. By doing so, you can improve your overall health, boost your energy levels, and maintain a positive outlook on life.
My Experience with This Strategy
I've previously worked as an on-site chiropractor for various corporate campuses across south Florida. We would often work with the company's wellness director to implement company-wide health initiatives. One of the initiatives we implemented was the short walking break every 30-60 minutes. We discovered that employees took fewer sick days, fewer doctor's office visits, and less work time missed. The company wellness director couldn't believe how effective such a simple strategy could have monumental effects. Start small and make a big difference, your body will thank you!