Sitting. It is such an ubiquitous activity that we never really think about it in relation to our health.
Of course you probably already know that sitting hunched over in front of your computer for hours on end without taking a break leads to much physical discomfort, particularly cramped legs and backaches. But like most people, you probably figured that with a good chair and proper sitting position you can beat the problems that sitting brings. Unfortunately research shows that prolonged sitting, no matter how comfortable your position may be, still leads to serious health risks.
LA Times reports that a study analyzing “the results of 18 studies with a total of nearly 800,000 participants” show that people who spend the most time sitting have the following increased risks: diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).
The mere act of sitting for prolonged sitting increases your risk for death by as much as 49%!
So what can you do to avoid the negative effects of sitting?
Don’t think that just because you exercise in the gym means that you’re free from the dangers of sitting and can sit all you want the rest of the day. By all means continue your good exercise habits, but decrease your sitting time by taking short breaks throughout the day. Taking a two-minute walk (or more) every 20 minutes is recommended, reportedly resulting in improved glucose metabolism. The great thing with this approach is that you an weave this into your implementation of the Pomodoro technique and so kill two birds with one stone, helping you with both your health and productivity.
And yes, you can make the two-minutes walks a thinking break, giving new meaning to thinking on your feet.