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Is Sitting The New Smoking? Walk To A Healthier More Creative Life

NOTE: The opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of Shortlister

Is sitting the new smoking?  You may have heard this question over the past year.  There is no doubt science is starting to show that sitting is really bad for us, and our lives are becoming more and more sedentary.  

In a recent article by Susan Scutti entitled Yes, sitting too long can kill you, even if you exercise she references a study that tracked not only how active the participants were, but also how frequently they were getting up and moving.  The results?  Long uninterrupted periods of sitting are really bad for us.

Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week. The article suggests we need similar guidelines for sitting, but more research needs to be done to determine just how often we should be getting up and moving, and for how long that movement should be.

One finding of the study was, people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death. Keith Diaz, the lead author of the new study and an associate research scientist in the Columbia University Department of Medicine, offered the following, if you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods, the best suggestion I can make is to take a movement break every half hour.  Our findings suggest this one behavior change could reduce your risk of death.

So even if you make a point to hit the gym after work, it might not be enough to combat the hours you spent sitting during the day.  You may want to start walking regularly to not only improve your healthy lifestyle, but studies have also shown that regular walking can also boost your creativity.  Charles Dickens, Aristotle, John Muir, and Beethoven are among just a few of the many famous minds who attribute regular walking to their genius.

A study done at Stanford University found that walking, regardless of where, can boost creativity by up to 60%.  The study also found that creativity levels remained elevated even after the walk had ended.  The same results applied whether participants were getting their steps inside or outside so rain or shine there are no excuses!

Does this mean walking meetings are a good thing?

They can be! Steve Jobs (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Jack Dorsey (Twitter) have all been known to hold meetings on foot. Walking meetings can be a great way to brainstorm creative ideas, as well as solve problems.  Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, All great thoughts are conceived by walking. In addition to a boost in creativity, the increase in energy one gets from taking a brisk walk helps those who spend the majority of their workday at a desk maintain higher levels of productivity (not to mention the health benefits).

Barbara Oakley, engineering professor at Oakland University, said, walking allows us to subconsciously process and think in a different way.  So next time you have writer’s block, are stuck on a project, or need inspiration for that next big idea, get up and take a walk!

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— Written by the <br>Stephanie Green

— Written by the
Stephanie Green

Stephanie Green is the head of business development at Walker Tracker.  Providing a customizable online platform for social activity and wellness challenges, Walker Tracker is on a mission to empower organizations and their members to live healthier, happier, and more meaningful lives.

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