A Longer Life Is a Great Excuse for Taking Multiple Breaks at Work

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Time for a walk, via Shutterstock

Don't just sit there. That's the obvious lesson learned after reading Gretchen Reynolds's latest column on health and fitness for The New York Times. She cites multiple studies that point to the benefits of getting up and moving around consistently. Even people who sit for a long time and then work out for a long time at night may not benefit as much as those that move consistently during the day. To get her point, it's worth considering her write-up of at least one study.

I also conduct more of my daily business upright. In an inspiring study being published next month in Diabetes Care, scientists at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, had 19 adults sit completely still for seven hours or, on a separate day, rise every 20 minutes and walk leisurely on a treadmill (handily situated next to their chairs) for two minutes. On another day, they had the volunteers jog gently during their two-minute breaks.

When the volunteers remained stationary for the full seven hours, their blood sugar spiked and insulin levels were out of whack. But when they broke up the hours with movement, even that short two-minute stroll, their blood sugar levels remained stable. Interestingly, the jogging didn’t improve blood sugar regulation any more than standing and walking did. What was important, the scientists concluded, was simply breaking up the long, interminable hours of sitting.

If that's not convincing enough, you might want to consider reading her entire article. Just make sure to do it while standing up. That's another thing that can improve your health, Reynolds found out while writing an article about the best New Year's resolutions for Outside.

–Joe Spring

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