We’ve long heard about the negative side effects of prolonged sitting. Scientists have linked it to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some have even compared its negative consequences to that of a smoker. Smoking however, especially because of the addictive nature of nicotine, is bad for your health at any amount. The adverse side effects of extended sitting, on the other hand, can be curbed by simply not sitting as much.
A recent study from the American Heart Association found that the average American sits for 6–8 hours each day. Such a sedentary lifestyle wasn’t always the case. Our ancestors back in the cave men days were hunters and gatherers, both of which required very little, if any, sitting. In fact, exercise for the sake of burning calories didn’t exist back then. Movement was simply a way of life.
Flash forward a few thousand years, and we as a society have not only started moving less, but we have in effect become addicted to sitting. In the past century, and exponentially so in the past decade, humans have invented countless things so we can sit more and more. Cars take us to where we need to go instead of walking. Elevators and escalators removed the need to climb stairs. You don’t even need to leave your house — or your couch for that matter — to buy most things these days. Since the inception and evolution of the internet, just about anything you might want or need can be delivered to your doorstep.
As these technological innovations persist so do the tech jobs that support them. Coding, UX design, or marketing for that matter — all of it can be done from the comfort of your seat. Luckily, kicking that sitting habit, is much less difficult than it is to quit smoking. In fact, research by Dr. James Levine has shown sitting for long periods of time with a variety of health risks and that even short breaks for movement throughout the day can greatly improve your health and quality of life.
Ironically enough, we owe some of these innovations to our friends in the tech industry, who have developed a few tools to keep you moving throughout the day.
Here are three of my favs:
1. My Cubii — The first smart under desk elliptical
2. Desk Yogi — 3–10 minute wellness videos you can do at your desk
3. FitBit — Stay motivated by tracking your fitness progress
Even if technology isn’t your thing, there’s always the good ole’ walk around the block. Whatever you choose to do, just get moving. Even just a few minutes a couple times a day can have a positive effect. As an added bonus, these brief movements and exercises are a great alternative to the cigarette break. Before you know it, you’ll have kicked two addictions.
What are some ways that you take a break that moves you?
Originally published at medium.com