by Sue Redmond
Everyone knows that the couch potato “lifestyle” is unhealthy. You come home from a hard day at work and park yourself in front of the TV. Recent studies have found your desk job may be just as unhealthy! Joan Vernikos wrote about this in her book Sitting Kills, Moving Heals. Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, used gravity studies to show how sitting ages a person faster. She has a whole program of “fighting” gravity. It can be as easy as standing slowly at least 36 times a day. She recommends using a countdown method to make it more like a game. Increase your standing, even while working, by keeping your cell phone or water bottle far enough away that you need to get up to reach them.
Dr. Mercola, an osteopathic doctor, says intermittent movement throughout the day is even more important to your physical health and long life than a regular exercise program. The longer you sit can actually shorten your lifespan. It raises your risk for many diseases including diabetes (type II), heart attack, insomnia, and arthritis.
Since intermittent movement throughout the day isn’t something most of us have programmed into our everyday life, we have found some helpful apps that can help you get started.
- StretchClock Break Reminder – Desk Yoga A break reminder for computer users.
- Big Stretch Reminder Program – Free utility interrupts you at regular, predetermined intervals, prompting you to take a break and offering random RSI-prevention messages like “Have a Tea Break!” or a message of your own. You can set a sound alert and a countdown reminder in the system tray.
- Break Pal – This program times breaks for you and even has short exercise videos you can follow right in your office. It can even tie in to your social media and let your friends know what you are up to.
- Break Time – With an option to ‘enforce’ breaks, BreakTime can also help overcome break skipping. With ‘enforce’ enabled, BreakTime won’t allow you to work on anything else until you’ve finished your entire break.
Whether you use an app or just watch the clock, get moving… it can literally improve your health and lengthen your life! Watch for Part Two where we will post some exercises you can do right at your desk.
Vernikos PhD, Joan. “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals.” Media Kit. Quill Driver Books. December 2011. Web. 14 Aug 2014.
Mercola MD, Joseph. “Prolonged Sitting Can Lead to Depression and Other Mental Health Problems.” Health. Mercola.com: Take Control of Your Health, 7 Aug 2014. Web. 14 Aug 2014.