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Take a Break. No, Really.

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Last week, I wrote about a new study that found that if we spend more than two hours a day sitting in front of screen-based entertainment (TV, computer, etc.), no amount of exercise can reverse the negative effects those experiences have on our bodies (https://www.empowher.com/heart-disease/content/most-compelling-reason-ever-get-and-get-moving).

Researchers established that spending elongated periods in front of a TV or computer screen not only dramatically increases the risk for heart disease but can also affect our risk of death for any cause. Furthermore, doctors suggested that these health risks may not be mitigated by exercise.

This study seems to have gotten the attention of a national and global audience—it seems preposterous and disheartening to think that simply because we sit during the day (which, let’s face it, anyone who has a 9-to-5 job, from high schoolers to white collar workers, averages more than two hours a day of cushion time).

Doctors weren’t going to take this information sitting down and have been countering the argument with studies and advice of their own—take breaks throughout the day. Get up and walk around, remain in motion as often as possible throughout the day. Physical activity should be accumulated incrementally throughout the day.

Doctors have found that people who sit for extended periods of time without taking short breaks are at higher risk for heart disease than those who take more frequent timeouts to stand up and walk around.

People in developed countries spend more than half of their day sitting, on average. And, not surprisingly, heart disease is the number one cause of premature death in both the United States and Europe.

The good news is that “overall, those who took the most breaks from sitting (even if they spent a great deal of time being sedentary) were found to have the smallest waists: participants among the top quarter of break frequency had a 1.6-inch smaller waist than those in the bottom quarter,” according to a report by USA Today.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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