You are working from home. You sit in front of a computer all day taking classes and going to meetings. You make lunch then plop your butt back down to eat before the next Zoom meeting begins.
Sound familiar? The pandemic has most of us sitting on our butts all day. Sitting for a long period of time is bad for your health. Being sedentary is associated with an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer among many other illnesses.
So what can you do to try to reverse these effects? By moving and getting up of course!
Dr. Beth Frates, director of wellness programming for the Stroke Research and Recovery Institute at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital advises patients to take a “two-, five-, or 10-minute break at least once per hour.” Make sure to do things you like that gets you moving and out of that chair.
Two Minute Breaks:
Frates suggests working a muscle group. Start at the top and work your way down. For example, at 10 a.m., work your shoulders by squeezing your shoulder blades together, holding a few seconds, and releasing; repeat to fill your two-minute break. At 11 a.m., work your abdominal and leg muscles with sit-to-stands (standing up and sitting down repeatedly); at noon, work your arm and chest muscles by doing wall push-ups. Keep going with leg lifts at 1 p.m., wall squats at 2 p.m., and calf raises (rocking up on your toes for a moment) at 3 p.m.
Five Minute Breaks
Got a little more time on your hands? Go on a mini-hike around your house or stretch your back and neck muscles, as advised by Frates.
Ten Minute Breaks
If you have ten minutes, take a brisk walk outside. Frates suggests thinking and figuring out what you plan to do next to kill two birds with one stone. If you can’t currently go outside, she recommends finding a quiet place to practice some tai chi, yoga, or dance.