Working from Home: Fighting a sedentary lifestyle

As a remote worker, I usually work from home and can be found sitting in front of my computer for hours every day. I use the Awareness app to gently remind me to take a break and get up at least once per hour, but I concentrate really well when I get in the flow and lately I find that I only notice the app’s reminders when it notifies me that I missed a couple of those hourly breaks in a row. I do take a long break at least once per day to be more active, and I use a Fitbit to encourage me to get out and take longer walks, but otherwise I can be practically glued to my desk chair in concentration.

The other day, I was reading an article in the New York Times about how tracking your steps and having a daily step goal isn’t enough to avoid a sedentary lifestyle:

In other words, you can take 5,000 steps in a day or 10,000, meaning that you would cover either about 2.5 or 5 miles. But in both cases, if you concentrate those steps into a single session of exercise and then spend the rest of your waking hours slumped in a desk chair or in front of a television, you will be more sedentary than active.

Such long bouts of sitting are associated with multiple health concerns, including increased risks for weight gain, diabetes, cholesterol problems and premature death, even if you exercise.

Ask Well: Does Taking Fewer Than 5,000 Steps a Day Make You Sedentary?

The article goes on to criticize activity monitors for emphasizing steps but failing to watch out for long periods of inactivity. The Apple watch stand reminder/goal was actually one of the activity features that made me seriously consider getting one (although in the end I decided against it).

So yesterday, as I synced my Fitbit with the app, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it has a new hourly activity goal. The suggested goal (in addition to your other activity/step goals) is to “take 250 steps each hour, which is roughly two to three minutes of walking.” I’m really happy to have more encouragement to get up and move while I’m working, and I just created hourly silent alarms on my Fitbit to support that new hourly activity goal. Here’s to healthier work habits!

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