Two Minutes to Extend Your Life
When you heard that sitting in a chair at work all day was linked to premature death and chronic health conditions such as obesity, kidney disease, diabetes and heart disease, you may have bought an exercise ball to sit on or raised your desk so you could stand as you work. While these steps might have helped you reduce back or neck pain, a new study reveals they don’t actually help much more.
In fact, the research, which was conducted using data for 3,626 men and women enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found that low-intensity activity — such as standing while working — didn’t have much of an impact on the risk of premature death.
So what can you do to be healthier and stay healthier for longer? It doesn’t take much: A two-minute walk makes a significant difference in your mortality risk. According to the study, replacing just two minutes of your sitting time each hour with a short walk can reduce your mortality risk by 33 percent. If you’re even more active and replace two minutes of sitting with jogging or jumping jacks, researchers predict that your premature death risk will decrease even more — probably because of weight loss due to the additional calories burned.
5 Ways to Be Productive — and Healthier
If you’re already overstressed at work and think you don’t have time to break up your day with a brief walk, think again. Taking brief breaks throughout the day actually improves your productivity.
Researchers from the University of Toronto found that not taking a lunch break actually lowers your productivity, while other research found that the most productive employees take about 17 minutes of breaks for every hour they work.
During these breaks, why not get active? Try these five tips to fit walking into your workday.
- Change your computer’s printer to one that’s farther from your desk. A brisk walk to and from the printer on the other side of the office can easily take two minutes.
- Schedule “walking meetings.” If you have an informal meeting with just one or two other people in your office, ask if they would mind taking a walk as you brainstorm your ideas. If you walk outdoors, you have the added benefit of a few minutes of fresh air.
- Stand and march in place as you talk on the phone.
- Instead of sipping water from a large glass on your desk, walk to your office’s kitchen, breakroom or water fountain hourly to refill a smaller water glass.
- Don’t eat at your desk. Take a few minutes to walk to a different location for lunch. The change of scenery will help clear your mind and you’ll get in a bit of exercise.
So get up and get active to get healthy — it might save your life.
If you’re ready to take the next step in getting healthier and need guidance, visit a Texas Health Fitness Center and get one-on-one access to a fitness specialist.