Do you sit for long stretches of the day and/or evening for work, crafting, entertainment, or online socializing?
If so, you may be jeopardizing your health.
As someone who has “sat for a living” for decades as a writer-editor, I was startled to discover recent studies that associate long periods of sitting with more cardiovascular disease, larger waists, more cancer, and other health risks.
The research also reveals that even an hour or more of vigorous daily exercise can’t undo the health damage of long sitting.
Experts recommend taking short breaks every 20-30 minutes that get you up and moving around. Canadian blogger Paul Ingraham calls it “microbreaking.”
You don’t need to do vigorous exercise during these brief breaks from sitting. Just get up and move around for a couple of minutes. At home, you could put a load of laundry in the washer, get a glass of water, take a couple of trips up and down the stairs, walk around the driveway, or pace while you talk on a cordless phone. People at work could walk to the printer, photocopier or restroom, walk in place, or stroll to a colleague’s cubicle with a question.
Although standing or moving (treadmill or bicycle) workstations have become increasingly popular in the wake of the research on prolonged sitting, Cornell researchers say these strategies have drawbacks and may cause other problems.
And don’t forget, these mini-movement breaks don’t substitute for longer bouts of aerobic and strengthening exercise that build and maintain your fitness base.
Margaret Boyles lives in a wood-heated house in central New Hampshire. She grows vegetables, eats weeds, keeps chickens, swims in a backyard pond in summer, snowshoes in the surrounding woods in winter, and commutes by bike whenever possible.