Time management tips can work against you if you over-value productivity. Do you habitually plunk yourself down at your desk for hours on end, wrapping up tasks without regular breaks? If so, you risk shortening your life dramatically.
Why? Because extended bouts of sitting is one of the worst things you can do for your body. In fact, a study published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, reports that for each extra hour watching television daily, the risk of death from heart disease increases 18%! Those who sit motionless in front of a TV (or computer) for at least four hours a day run an 80% increased risk of perishing from cardiovascular disease over those who watch for two hours or less.
This study, notably, used a control group that met exercise guidelines. And one’s diet did not alter these results.
How can this be? Well, studies trace strong links between overall sedentary time with increased blood lipids, blood glucose, and fat tissue, even in people who performed moderate to vigorous exercise several times each week.
Fortunately, you can maintain your effectiveness and safeguard your health, as well. To reduce this particular set of risk factors, you needn’t set aside hours to exercise. All you need is “Movement Moments” – a minute here and there, to break up periods of sitting. Something this simple helps convert the cholesterol in your blood from LDL (the bad cholesterol) into HDL (the healthy kind).
In fact, frequent short breaks spent moving around, stretching and flexing your muscles also contributes to lower body mass index, a smaller waist circumference, better glucose metabolism and lower blood lipid levels. And it’s completely free!
Movement Moments – The Time-Wise Solution
Every 45 minutes or so, try creating brief Movement Moments for yourself. Use a timer if that helps jog your memory. At 45-minute intervals stop what you are doing, get up, and move in whatever way feels good to you. (Do this in privacy, if you can, so that you don’t feel constrained.) Try these, and add your favorites:
9 Finest Fast & Free Exercise Bursts
1. Lifting small weights
2. Going up and down stairs
4. Jumping jacks
5. Leg lunges
6. Doing sit ups or leg-lifts
7. Stretching and
8. Shaking tension from your arms and legs
9. Whatever feels right at the moment!
Do the movements you choose vigorously for about a minute; then you can return to work refreshed. It hardly interrupts your flow, and your energy flows more freely.
As you give yourself the gift of Movement Moments throughout your day, notice how they affect your energy, focus, and productivity. Try keeping track of this for a week, and see what you discover!© Copyright 2012 Paula Eder, Ph.D.