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Study: Inactivity is Bad For Our Health - The Webmaster Challenge

     
4:26 pm on Jan 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Webmasters are no different to many other office and screen-based professions, having to stare at a computer screen for many hours on end. Our eyes are u8nder assault, and carpal tunnel syndrome has often been a challenge. However, there's a bigger problem reported this week.

A recent study has shown that inactivity is worse for our health than being obese.

A lack of exercise could be killing twice as many people as obesity in Europe, a 12-year study of more than 300,000 people suggests.

University of Cambridge researchers said about 676,000 deaths each year were down to inactivity, compared with 337,000 from carrying too much weight.

They concluded that getting everyone to do at least 20 minutes of brisk walking a day would have substantial benefits.

Experts said exercise was beneficial for people of any weight.

Obesity and inactivity often go hand in hand. Study: Inactivity is Bad For Our Health - The Webmaster Challenge [bbc.co.uk]


I've been quite good in the past at keeping fit, but I have noticed that there's been less activity of late, usually because of the inclement winter months. I don't usually bother with New Year resolutions, and like to make resolutions at any time of year. However, the study came at a good time to remind me to get off my rear more often. So, whilst it's blowing a gale and pouring with rain and sleet outside, it's time to do something.

I started today with a new regime: Set aside a short time on the rowing machine.

How are you setting aside time, and what exercise do you prefer?
5:32 pm on Jan 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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i have a dog ... which i take out first thing and then around 6pm for at least 40 mins each time ... central london, but there are parks around.

also play football every wednesday evening.

both are great both for exercise AND also forcing me to interact with people face to face.
7:03 pm on Jan 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My home office had a couch and a comfortable office leather chair.

I replaced the couch with an elliptical machine recently, and have been using a standing desk for several months now. And I prefer walking to almost anywhere in the city nowadays too.
10:20 pm on Jan 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have a treadmill in my office with a 21" flat monitor wall mounted in front of it with a mac mini attached, full size wireless keyboard, and mouse on a make-shift desk on top of the treadmill. I spend about 2 hours a day 5-6 days a week on it. Love it. I find that on days I don't use it I have more trouble tackling complex projects. Also, having real work in front of me is the only way I'll work out for two hours :)
10:38 pm on Jan 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I go to the YMCA a couple times a week and have a treadmill in my office at home. I need to use the treadmill more. 20 years of sitting in front of a computer have taken a toll.
1:48 am on Jan 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have a bike, and a small child.
3:38 pm on Jan 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Back in the days when I was working for a salary I always made a point of taking my lunch break and taking a brisk walk. Great fun exploring central London, rather limited when I worked in Slough Trading Estate.

Now, technically retired and working part time as a magazine editor I can factor in exercise and try to take a decent walk several times a week as well as other hobbies. Getting my pensioners' bus pass is a great boon as I walk into town and have a free ride home with the shopping.
6:43 pm on Jan 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Having other things that force activity can make it seem much easier. I tried taking the cat for a walk and it managed about 150 metres and then sat down. hehe

One week later and i've managed to keep up the regime of fitting in exercise at one time in the day. It's working, and I already feel there's less effort involved each time I jump on the rowing machine.

I'll give myself a treat and go down the pub! :)
8:28 pm on Jan 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Studying inactivity has got to be even worse.
9:26 pm on Jan 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Here's something that only works if you live or work in a multi-story place. Use the stairs. Need the restroom? walk down or up a flight or two instead of using the facilities on the same floor you work on.

.
10:36 pm on Jan 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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When I worked at home, I tried to make sure I got to the gym after a few hours of work in the morning (at least an hour/day of cardio/weights). Otherwise, a brisk walk at a minimum.

My new job is a 9-mile bike ride each way and has a fitness center on campus (which I usually hit at lunch). (Once the days get longer/warmer, there will be more options for longer routes.) Another bonus- all of the departments with which we have meetings are at least a 5-minute walk away. Since we don't have any meeting rooms in our office space, we almost always go to the other departments for meetings.

I make sure to drink a lot of water throughout the day, which necessitates frequent trips to the bathroom that also help get some activity. (The downside of the new job is that the bathroom is right next to the office, which limits that amount of activity, but I may start using the facilities across the street every once in a while.)
12:46 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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No matter how much exercise you can get when you're away from work, it turns out that either sitting or standing for a long time during work isn't very good for you. I do everything I can to make sure I walk a lot, but the following came as quite a shock to me when I first heard it, because I thought I could manage by moving around every 45-min to an hour or so, and then walk or exercise each day and each week. Not the case.

If you're stuck at a desk, studies have shown that you can get major health benefits by standing up for two minutes every 20-minutes. If you can during those two minutes, walk around... but if you can't walk around, simply just standing for two minutes will do things like reduce your chances of getting diabetes by a significant amount. The trick is doing it every 20-minutes without messing up your work flow. ;-)

The following is a National Public Radio interview with New York Times Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds. It's got a summary, streaming audio of the interview, and a transcript. I'm shortening the title here, because, as you'll see when you read the article, NPR mixed up the essence of article in their title when they posted it...

Stand Up, Walk Around...
May 09, 2012 - National Public Radio
[npr.org...]

REYNOLDS:
...Well, sitting is, unfortunately, very unhealthy. And I do it constantly, so it worries me. What science is finding is that 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 that cause a whole hosts of changes, the most dire being that you stop breaking up fat in your bloodstream. You start getting accumulations of fat. And what that causes is you get accumulations of fat, then, in your liver, your heart, your brain. And you just get sleepy. You gain weight. You basically are much less healthy than if you're moving.

Other closely related issues having to do with blood chemistry (but not really tied into computers) involve the amount of refined carbohydrates we consume, and the presence of high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners in most processed food.

Other sitting issues involve ergonomics, and computer use issues involve both ergonomics and the nature of light emitted from many backlit screens.

More to come on the latter when I have the time and energy. ;)
12:59 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@robert, very enlightening article.for excercise,push ups in the morning and sometimes evening everyday.
10:32 am on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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>>studies have shown that you can get major health benefits by standing up for two minutes every 20-minutes

that's about what i do ... although drinking 3 strong coffees an hour is doubtless counterproductive?
4:10 pm on Jan 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

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although drinking 3 strong coffees an hour is doubtless counterproductive?

As long as you get up and walk to go get the coffee, it evens out. :)
4:23 am on Jan 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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During the winter I get up every 45 minutes to go to the basement to feed the wood stove or throw laundry in.

A friend sent me a bunch of ideas such as using a large screen tv and putting your keyboard/mouse on an iron board.
7:13 am on Jan 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Stand up desk (no chairs). Reverse above advice about getting up from desk... go find chair and sit down for two minutes (or potty break) every two hours. Only concession is a rebound floor mat so the arches don't complain!
7:15 am on Jan 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I love a stand up desk.
12:01 pm on Feb 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the ideas. The standing up part is easily achieved with a little activity associated with drinks making, and general interruptions. I can see how complete inactivity is bad, bad, bad. I was trying to do a little more with the rowing machine.

I'm doing well so far.

This morning the electronic timer on the rowing machine has a problem. A leaky battery has corroded the connectors. I haven't had a battery leak like that in any equipment for many years. Those little spring-like connectors in the batter compartment are awful when corroded, and eventually break and fall apart. The corroded spring has no future. I may have to resort to using tin foil, which is normally reserved for my tin foil hat. ;)