Why you need to take short walking breaks

12 Sep

When I work at my desk I set a timer for 25 minutes. Each it sounds, I stand up or walk for 5 minutes. I started doing this as part of my very imperfect efforts to implement the pomodoro technique. While I have not been completely satisfied with the effects on my productivity, it has been hard to organize my work into meaningful 25 minute units, I have noticed a reduction in back pain.

Here is a press release on research at Indiana University on the health effects of short walking breaks:

 

‘The researchers were able to demonstrate that during a three-hour period, the flow-mediated dilation, or the expansion of the arteries as a result of increased blood flow, of the main artery in the legs was impaired by as much as 50 percent after just one hour. The study participants who walked for five minutes for each hour of sitting saw their arterial function stay the same — it did not drop throughout the three-hour period. Thosar says it is likely that the increase in muscle activity and blood flow accounts for this.

“American adults sit for approximately eight hours a day,” he said. “The impairment in endothelial function is significant after just one hour of sitting. It is interesting to see that light physical activity can help in preventing this impairment.”‘

(Hat tip to BoingBoing)

Here the Awkward Web Guy explains the pomodoro technique, He has some interesting suggestions that I may try:

 

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