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Newton’s first law of motion is also sometimes called the law of inertia. Briefly, an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Seniors’ strength is linked to better cognitive function

Consider that object you. Are you resting until some force pushes you out of your chair? If you wait for a heart crisis, you’ve waited too long.

American adults can easily sit more than 12 hours a day, which is far too many. It also matters how long you sit before you get up, according to a multi-site study published last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The researchers analyzed data for nearly 8,000 adults age 45 and up, each outfitted with a device on a hip to record movement. They concluded that the more hours a volunteer sat in a day–and the longer his sitting spells–the more likely he was to die over the four years studied. This proved true, the data revealed, even if the subjects exercised and weren’t overweight.

In short, just getting up could give you more time on this planet.

How to Take Breaks At Your Desk

The researchers from the Annals of Internal Medicine study recommended moving every thirty minutes. My advice is to move for five minutes in those breaks. There are lots of free or inexpensive apps that will remind you to take breaks. Or you could just set an alarm on your phone.

Here are a few other tips to get you up and moving:

  • Keep small weights in or under your desk and do an arm routine during a break. Muscle-building is important for everyone. In fact, in seniors strength is linked to better cognitive function, according to a Finnish study published in June in European Geriatric Medicine.
  • Consider exercise bands, which take up less room than weights, and are more versatile. You can use a band for both arm and leg exercises. You can also snap it at your co-workers as they go by or use it as a sling ! (Okay, maybe not).
  • Do squats or pushups, which can provide both a cardio and strength-building workout.
  • You could use a peddler under your desk—you’ll keep blood flowing to your legs.
  • For those times when you won’t take a real break every half hour, at least stand and stretch every 15 minutes.
  • If you have back problems and standing is better for you, you might try a stand-up or adjustable desk. You’ll also want to move, since standing can be hard on your back and legs.

Build Movement Into Your Life

Beyond sitting breaks, you need to get chunks of movement into an ordinary day.

At lunch, spend no more than 15 minutes eating. Use the rest of your break for a walk, a trip to the gym or those squats and band-work in the office. If you run up a stairwell fast, you can give yourself a real five or ten-minute workout.

Walk or cycle or swim to work! Maybe you can’t swim. But you get the point. Too many commutes are wasted time sitting in a car. You might decide to walk to a train station instead of drive, or to park your car a pleasant walk from your office.

What if you do construction or stand in a store or wait on tables? You may not have to worry about too much sitting time, but you probably aren’t getting cardio during work hours or building muscle in a well-rounded way, so you need to find time for targeted workouts.

Employers are becoming more sympathetic to the need for exercise. You might ask a supervisor or the Human Resources department how you can set up a class in your workplace. Maybe you could recruit an instructor to come in and employees could split the cost. Having exercise buddies is a good way to stay motivated.

Decrease Your Anxiety, Depression and Hostility

Fitness is linked to better mood in everyone—and there are mounds of research, most recently a study in the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, suggesting that exercise can reduce anxiety, depression and hostility in heart patients.

But we all need to use our bodies throughout the day, and fingers tapping a keyboard or phone screen don’t count.

Regular movement will boost your energy, burn calories, improve your mood, and help clear your mind. You’ll be more productive and you may live longer, too.

What do you do to break-up sitting for too long?

Contributed by

Phil Hardesty
Exercise Physiologist

Have a healthy, happy and fit week!!

Better Health Begins With You...

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