Walking breaks : an easy mental and physical boost
Stuck at your desk all day? A long way to travel or drive? Taking a break can act as an excellent way to refresh you attention and mental focus. However, there is another way in which breaks can prove very beneficial: small physical activity breaks when engaged in long spells of desk work. More specifically, light or moderate bouts of walking can help to protect you against the risk of heart disease and diabetes through inactivity. Overweight or obese people who walked for just 2 minutes after a period of uninterrupted sitting for two hours and drinking a standardized test drink lowered their post-consumptions glucose and insulin levels.
It is important to note that the participants were only studied over one day, but the potential is enormous. This really simple intervention looks like it can reduce sugar spikes and potentially add to the evidence base for a public health and clinical intervention strategy for reducing cardiovascular risk.
The really interesting finding from the study was the lack of any large difference between those who did light or more vigorous exercise. This points to the more damaging effects of sitting down all day without any kind of activity.
Just getting up and walking for 2 minutes every 20 minutes. That’s how easy it could be to ward off the damaging effects of remaining on our butts for long periods of time. That should be inspiration enough to get us all on our feet.
Dr Sarb Johal is the Director of Equanimity Limited and Associate Professor of Disaster Mental Health at Massey University’s Joint Centre for Disaster Research. He spends quite a lot of his work time providing advice to the Ministry of Social Development and CERA on aspects of recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes. When not working, Sarb spends a bit of his time writing and running, though not at the same time. He has completed numerous half-marathons, 4 international marathons and 1 ultra-marathon from 2010-2012. He is a certified Leader in Running Fitness, and is also training to be a Personal Trainer.
You can read more of his thoughts on health, wellbeing and mental fitness at completecoach.wordpress.com