Have you tried standing up every 20 minutes from your desk while at work? As unbelievable as it sounds, doing so would cause a remarkable increase in your productivity. In fact, there are studies that show how standing up every now and then improves your blood flow, decreases your chance of diabetes and heart disease.
Gretchen Reynolds is a New York Times columnist and the author of the book, “The First 20 Minutes,” where she explains the benefits of standing up every 20 minutes. Ms. Reynolds explains the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle that most people in the modern world have, sitting at the desk for hours at a stretch.
The human body was not meant for sitting, it was built for movement. As soon as you sit down at your desk, the electrical activity slows down to a great extent and you burn just 1 calorie a minute. When you walk, you burn 3 calories a minute.
If you’ve been in a job that involves standing most of the time and have recently switched to a desk job, then it takes just 5 days of work at your new job before there is an increase in the bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and insulin resistance. This puts you at a serious risk of getting diabetes.
It doesn’t take long for things to get worse – in fact your muscles begin to atrophy within 2 weeks of shifting to the desk job, and your maximum oxygen consumption gets reduced as well. You have no doubt observed career desk jockeys running out of breath when going up the stairs. It can happen to you too, if you stay stuck at the desk job for too long.
In fact, after a year at the desk job, women begin to lose 1% of their bone mass, and experience a significant increase in weight and cholesterol levels. After a few years at this, you will be at a serious risk of heart disease, not to mention prostate cancer and breast cancer.
But that doesn’t mean you should go back to a job that involves standing. Avoiding the negative effects of a desk job involves doing something as simple as standing up every 20 minutes at work, every day.
Even if you can’t take a bathroom break or go for a quick walk, if you make it a habit to stand up every 20 minutes for a minute or two, before sitting again – that will have a most amazing effect on your health. To help you get started, you can set a 20 minute timer on your smart phone.
Also, standing up every 20 minutes improves your productivity at work as it helps you to set up 20-minute targets to accomplish. In fact, this is similar to the famous Pomodoro Technique, wherein in you work for 30 minutes and take a break for 5 minutes. You can incorporate that into your routine if you like as well – work for 30 minutes, take a break, stand up, walk around for 5 minutes and then get back to work.
Standing up every 20 minutes is the easiest way to counter the negative effects of sitting in one place for too long. It increases your fitness levels, refreshes the mind, and makes you more enthusiastic about the work to be done.
It’s really quite simple – just stand up every 20 minutes! Also, be sure to take the stairs rather than the escalator, park your car as far away as possible from the office so that you can walk more, and go for a quick walk during your lunch break. These are some of the simplest things you can do for your health.