There’s a good chance you spend at least 8 ½ hours of every day sitting.
For many of us, that’s almost half our day. The amount of time we spend sitting has rapidly increased in the last few decades until we have become a culture that is known for being still.
Spending time sitting down is not bad in and of itself. It’s part of the natural movement repertoire of humans and a much-beloved way to relax and refresh ourselves. But, long periods of sitting without breaks is not good for us. It is linked to a higher risk of disease, higher body weight, and even risk of early mortality. (2)
Even more important to note is that engaging in a regular hour of exercise each day does not diminish these risks! (3) Your body needs regular breaks from sitting, interspersed all through the day for optimal health.
In addition to the adverse effects that result from too much sitting, often all the sitting time is time we are spending focused on one thing. Focus is of course good and allows us to be both productive and creative, however long bouts of focusing can begin to negatively impact our ability to do the very thing we are focused on. (4)
The brain needs breaks as much as the body.
Another way to say this is, “Take five minutes to care for yourself.”
What you can do in five minutes:
- Stand up and look out a window. Challenge yourself to look as far as you can to allow your eyes a chance to relax.
- Close your eyes and spend five minutes paying attention to your breath.
- Do some simple stretches.
- Find some stairs to go up and down to get your heart rate up.
- Walk around the block.
- Connect with a friend or family member.
- Take time to check in with what you are feeling both physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Do nothing! This is actually a great way to recharge your brain.
Set a timer to remind you to take a five-minute break every 45-60 minutes, or even better, every 30 minutes, whatever you can manage.
Taking regular small breaks throughout the day can boost brain function, improve focus and overall make you more productive. (5) Breaking up periods of sitting with times of movement can decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure and even improve sleep. (6)
You’re worth those five minutes. Your health and sense of well-being are worth taking a break to tend. True wellness can be as simple as that.