Five minutes (or more, if you have them!) to better health

Middle-aged man with gray hair and beard

My weather app shows it’s going to be beautiful in Philadelphia next week, and forecasts like this are only one of the many reasons June is my favorite month of the year. It’s so much easier to get out of bed and take that walk before work when the weather is perfect, and naturally, the more I move, the better I feel. My days improve after a few steps and some fresh air.

This all makes me think of an article that’s been weighing on my mind since I read it in January. Admittedly, the headline is pretty dramatic: Sitting all day can be deadly!

Definitely grabs your attention.

Luckily though, the recommendation – and the second half of the headline – is attainable! Just five minutes of walking every half hour can reduce all that harm from sitting. The researcher quoted in the study found the results surprising. “We were really struck by how powerful the effects were” of just a 5-minute walk at a leisurely pace. The researcher claimed they’d never seen the kind of drop in blood sugar they observed, other than with medication! Even more evidence that it’s essential to move.

While that’s fine in theory, we all have those days when a project of 4 back-to-back Zoom calls keeps you glued to your seat, and by 5 PM you realize you haven’t moved for hours. (But, sitting can be deadly!) Smartwatches and other timers can help, providing those reminders to step away from your desk, but recently at Ideba, we thought about how we could integrate walks into our meetings themselves.

No, we didn’t all buy standing desks and walking pads (I’m not sure I have the kind of coordination required to work in a spreadsheet while in motion), but I did update all my regular check-ins with my teammates. I added a line into each meeting invite: Do we need to look at our monitors for this sync? If not, let’s take a walk together! Call my cell…  

I’m excited to incorporate more movement into my workdays – especially while the weather is so lovely next week.

How about you? Have you found creative ways to move during the day? Neck and shoulder stretches at your desk? Exercises to improve your posture? When your Smartwatch tells you to move, do you listen? I’d love to learn your tips and tricks! 

Mylene Kerschner – Senior Research and Consulting Manager