New York Times “Phys Ed” columnist Gretchen Reynolds has some simple advice for staying healthy: Stand up. Move around. In her new book, The First 20 Minutes, she explains the hazards of a sedentary lifestyle, and details some of the surprisingly simple ways to stay fit.
If you’re sitting at a desk reading this article, take a minute and stand up. That’s the latest advice from New York Times Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds. In her new book, The First 20 Minutes, Reynolds details some of the surprisingly simple ways you can combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Federal health guidelines recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise — such as walking or jogging — every single day. But new research shows that even regular exercisers may not be doing enough to counteract the health hazards of sitting down at a desk all day long.
“Sitting for long periods of time — when you don’t stand up, don’t move at all — tends to cause changes physiologically within your muscles,” says Reynolds. “You stop breaking up fat in your bloodstream, you start getting accumulations of fat … in your liver, your heart and your brain. You get sleepy. You gain weight. You basically are much less healthy than if you’re moving.”
Reynolds recommends standing for two minutes every 20 minutes while desk-bound — even if you can’t move around your office. “That sounds so simple,” she tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “But that actually has profound consequences. If you can stand up every 20 minutes — even if you do nothing else — you change how your body responds physiologically.”