Everybody knows, to the point of eye-rolling boredom, how important it is to get 30 or more minutes of vigorous exercise most days a week. But it turns out it's what you do with the other 23 and a half hours of your day that really makes the difference to your health.
People who sit most of the day, reading, working on the computer, or watching TV, have a much higher risk of heart disease even if their workout record is stellar. The more routine activity you have in your day, things like walking to run errands, cleaning the house, or even making dinner, the more calories you burn.
Think about it: Work has become seriously sedentary in the last decade or so, and most of us have inactive pursuits in our leisure time as well.
You used to have to walk around the office to distribute memos: now they go throughout the company with a click. Someone used to write down a message with paper and pen and you had to walk to your office mailbox to retrieve it; now it's as easy as pressing a button on your phone. Some of us even remember having to walk to the fax machine to get documents or even pressing the return lever when typing. On actual paper that needed to be replaced every 500 words or so.
There's a whole bunch of products that aim to address the need for more exercise during the day:
The under-desk pedals (please don't ever use this in a meeting)
The standing desk (that reverts to a sitting desk with the touch of a button)
These seem like they could also be great antidotes for the mid-afternoon sleepies, but these days when everyone is stretched to the limit on productivity, I don't see a lot of companies investing in them (not to mention that they are pricey; the Sit-To-Walkstation costs $4,500). There are days when work can feel like a treadmill ... I'm not sure that's improved by actually being on a treadmill.
Image via SteelcaseStore.com