Okay, not right now because you’re reading this. But when you’re finished, you’ll want to get up and take a walk.

Do you have a job where you sit at a desk most of the day? A recent New York Times article suggests that when you sit down in your office chair, the electrical activity in your leg muscles drops to practically nothing.

Which means:

  • Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked.
  • Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises.
  • The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.

And, alas, much more bad stuff. Read the article if you want more details.

The Japanese actually have a word for this – karoshi “death from overwork.” (Click on the image below if you’d like to go to one of my favorite websites where you can order a Karoshi T-shirt for yourself.)

But what is interesting is that not only can you easily combat the ill effects of a “chair-based lifestyle” by getting up and getting away from your desk on a regular basis – another recent study suggests that walking actually increases memory performance. An Inc. Magazine article titled “Your Desk is Making You Stupid” summed up the research results of the German study this way:

The headline finding was that the working memory performance of both age groups [children and young adults] improved when walking at their chosen speed compared with when sitting or walking at a fixed speed set by the researchers. This was especially the case for more difficult versions of the working memory task, and was more pronounced among the children than the adults. So, this would appear to be clear case of mental performance actually being superior in a dual-task situation.

So get up and take a break. Take a lot of breaks and walk down to visit that co-worker instead of sending them an e-mail. Your brain will be happy. You may live longer, too!

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

%d bloggers like this: