Numerous studies show that prolonged sitting (and standing) is bad for your health by increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Why? Researchers suggest the following reasons why remaining still without movement for long periods of time is bad for health.
*Lack of Circulation: When you sit or stand still for long hours, blood tends to pool in the feet, ankles and lower legs. Good circulation is essential to good health. Blood brings nutrients to our cells and clears away toxins. We need to move around ideally once each hour and move, for a minimum of 5 minutes to counteract this.
* Lack of Oxygen to the Brain: Related to poor circulation is failure of delivery of sufficient oxygen to the brain. Moving a few minutes each hour wakes up the brain and provides a needed break to refresh and recharge (The Power of the Pause!).
* Muscle and Joint Stiffness: "Motion is lotion" to our joints. The fluid that lubricates all joints in our body, including the all important backbone, is only generated by movement. We must move through a complete range of motion with ease with all joints of the body to ensure smooth, full movement.
* Lack of Energy and Feeling Tired: Movement stimulates the body and the mind. Without movement, feelings of fatigue set in. It may seem that one should feel more rested from sitting all day. In contrast—the less that you move, the more tired you tend to feel.
What can you do about it?
* Take a 5 minute movement break every hour.
Many of us, myself included, earn our livelihoods by work done when sitting. The key to overcoming the negative effects of sitting or standing without moving seems to be to move more and to move more often.
In a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity that compared a group of people who sat all day with a group of people who exercised before work and with a group of people who took 5 minute exercise breaks each hour, the group that took frequent breaks experienced the following:
* Better mood;
* More energy; and,
* Less hunger and urge to eat during the day.
Moving more certainly can't hurt you as long as the moves are safe and effective. That's why I wrote Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises for the Working Week. Get your free download of exercises here.
Join me for a 5 minute exercise break here with my Easy 5 Minute Exercises at Your Desk or 5 Minute Easy Yoga at Your Desk videos:
To learn more about how being minimally active is beneficial, check out this study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine