One of the biggest causes of preventable deaths in the United States is obesity. It affects all parts of the body and has surpassed smoking as the leading cause of preventable illness and death. However, too often we fail to look at another problem faced by many and that’s a sedentary lifestyle. Even if you workout regularly, if you sit for hours at a time at a desk job, without a break every 55 minutes, you’re damaging your health. You need to make moving a habit and schedule a time to get out of your chair and walk across the room or even do exercises next to your desk.
If there’s a will, there’s a way.
Think about the things you can do that keep you standing and moving, particularly if you have a desk job. There are some two to four minute workouts that don’t make you sweat or require any equipment, but which also get your blood circulating. If you have a sedentary job, think of the things you can do standing up and moving around and then schedule them once an hour. One study showed that just walking around for two minutes every hour could improve health significantly.
The study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, April 30th edition addressed the issue.
This study followed 3200 people and found that while most people did not meet the required 2.5 hours of physical activity, short amounts of exercise throughout the day in two to five minute bursts did help keep them healthier. Merely standing and doing work did nothing to improve their health. That activity could include anything from cleaning, walking, climbing steps or even doing a few simple exercises. Taking those two minutes of mild exercise every hour reduced the potential premature death by as much as 33 percent. That’s significant.
You still need moderate to intense exercise in addition to your two minute break.
Don’t let those numbers fool you. Even though it’s important to break up bouts of sitting with light exercise, it doesn’t mean that a program of moderate to intense exercise for two and a half hours a week isn’t important. You still need that for your bones, heart and muscle tissue. You need that type of exercise to feel your best. The two minute workout simply supplements the good job you’re doing at the gym.
- If you’re at a desk job, make it a point to stand and pace when you’re talking on the phone. You’re still getting your work completed, but adding a bit of healthy exercise while you’re doing it.
- If you have privacy, take a minute or two to do some exercises, like jumping jacks without the jumping—just the arm movement, deep knee bends or air push ups—raising your arms to the sky.
- When you’re at home, use the commercials of your favorite program to get some exercise. Run in place, do a few push-ups or get a two-fer by running to the wash machine and starting a load of wash, vacuuming the floor quickly or any active, but quick task.
- Road trips can take their toll, especially if your job requires you to be in your car for extended periods. Schedule a break every hour and walk for a short period. That few minutes will keep you healthier and also keep you more alert.