My Preoccupation With Sitting

by Health, Productivity

You may think I talk too much about sitting vs. standing desks but the preoccupation with sitting all day comes from a health AND productivity perspective. A new study recently came out to defend my stance yet again.

The study took healthy, normal weight adults and grouped them into three categories.

1) Continually sitting for nine hours

2) Walking for 30 minutes then sitting for the remainder of the nine hours. This is the equivalent to many people's run/walk/bike/swim in the morning before work and thinking that it is enough for the day.

3) Regular activity breaks equaling 30 minutes over the nine hour period.

Findings? The regular activity breaks significantly reduced blood sugar and insulin compared to sitting all day (duh) but (yea!) had similar benefits to the 30 minutes all at once. Why is this exciting? Because one of the excuses I always hear is “I don't have enough time”. Well, do you have 5 minutes in the morning? Do you have 10 by 10®? Can you find another 5 at lunch and when you get home from work? I have bodyweight workouts that you can do that don't require any equipment.

One of my clients is a hairstylist. Every month I give her a new 5 minute workout she can do in the salon, in a skirt, without getting too sweaty. Does she feel it makes a difference? Absolutely. I call them ‘opportunities'. If you can't find a 5 minute opportunity in your day, watch this video – Fitness Opportunities.

I have another client who studies at a Wegman's on Saturdays. His strategy? Every hour he gets up and walks the perimeter. He's more productive, needs less Jack and Crash beverages and (see above!) is controlling his blood sugar to boot!

The takeaway from this article and study? Get off your ass and move a few minutes every hour. I like the Pomodoro technique and take a break every 25 minutes. Ideally you could have a standing or walking desk. I LOVE mine – see here. Really, it makes a difference. In a cubicle? Stand up and talk on the phone a few minutes every hour. At the airport? Get up and walk the terminal while you're waiting on the plane to arrive. In the hotel? Pick up your food instead of room service delivering. You can find opportunities.

Where can you incorporate some activity breaks?




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Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects