Sitting for eight hours a day is bad for your health. Unfortunately, most Canadians, especially those with desk jobs, sit for upwards of ten. This isn’t good.
Luckily, the health effects of sitting can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, by simply taking breaks where you get up and move around a little. Sitting all day is horrible, but if you manage to take a break every 20 or 30 minutes, it’s not so bad.
What’s even better is that if you successfully manage to break up your sitting time, there are immediate and noticeable benefits! That is, not only will you be lengthening your life, but also making it better.
Here are 7 ways taking more frequent desk breaks can improve your health and your day.
- MORE ENERGY
No one likes feeling tired. Dragging yourself through the 3 o’clock slump can be miserable. This is where taking more breaks throughout your day can help. People who manage to sneak in some 5-minute activity breaks throughout the workday typically feel more energetic and less fatigued.
- BETTER MOOD
Physical activity releases a bunch of mood-boosting neurotransmitters in your brain, like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. As a result, the more you get up and move during the day, the happier you’ll be, especially if you move with some intensity.
- FEWER CRAVINGS
When fatigue hits and energy levels drop, we get cravings - often for junk. Including small bouts of higher intensity physical activity into your workday is one way to suppress those pesky cravings. It helps by decreasing levels of ghrelin (the hormone that increases appetite) and increasing levels of peptide YY (the hormone that signals fullness). It’s also been shown that people tend to make healthier food choices after exercising.
- IMPROVED MEMORY
Incorporating physical activity throughout your workday is a good way to give your memory a boost. Physical activity can actually lead to changes in your brain that improve memory and your thinking in general. Studies show that people who exercise 20 minutes before a test typically do better and that people who exercise 4 hours after learning something new are more likely to remember it.
- GREATER PRODUCTIVITY
Physical activity throughout the day helps you stay on-task, work more efficiently, and produce better quality work. Active employees tend to be more productive after 7 hours of work than inactive ones. Physical activity can also enhance creativity, lengthen your attention span, and improve your problem-solving skills.
- BETTER INSULIN SENSITIVITY
Breaking up your sitting time can improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, reducing your odds of developing type-2 diabetes. As an added bonus, better insulin sensitivity can also help you maintain a healthy body weight.
- MORE CONFIDENCE
Research shows that sitting less and moving more can make you feel more confident. It can also lead to feelings of greater self-worth and improved self-esteem. Taking frequent standing breaks and focusing on your posture can also help reinforce positive thought patterns.
In short, breaking up your sitting time by taking regular breaks can change your entire day. You’ll feel more energetic, more confident, and happier. You’ll get more done, forget less, and have fewer cravings. You’ll have more productive days that are less detrimental to your long-term health.
With busy schedules and never-ending deadlines, it’s hard to make getting up and taking short breaks a priority. But making the effort to get up more often can truly make a world of difference to your day, to your long-term health, and to how your life goes.
It’s time to stand up, for standing up and to move, for more movement.
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