Today, sedentary lifestyles have become the norm for many. With convenience all around us – food deliveries, drive-thrus, online shopping, you name it – coupled with long workdays and addiction to our digital devices, we don’t leave much room for moving our bodies.
But being sedentary is bad for your health. It can lead to a slower metabolism, muscle loss, insulin resistance, weight gain, and other health risks.
The 6/60 Rule
To combat a totally sedentary lifestyle, Roger Adams, PhD, CISSN, ACE-CPT, a certified personal fitness trainer and sports nutritionist, recommends something called the 6/60 rule.
“Walk for six minutes, every 60 minutes, during otherwise sedentary time,” says Adams. “Research tells us that moving 10% more improves how glucose and insulin work in our bodies and can also lower our risk of diabetes and heart disease.”
Dr. Adams says that another good way to get more physical activity is to stretch often. Stretching throughout the day, both at work and at home, can increase your muscle activity and also your metabolism.
Additional benefits of stretching include:
- Improved circulation
- Reduced muscle tension
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Less fatigue and more energy
- Greater mental alertness
- Reduced risk for injury
Any stretch that gets you out of your chair and activates your body will help. From yoga and Pilates to stretches you can do on your own or with an audio guide, stretching is one way to help you achieve the 6/60 rule for physical activity.
Other Ways to Move More
Here are some other ways to achieve the 6/60 rule and add more movement to your day. Dr. Adams says, “Don’t overthink it! Small, simple changes can create big results. Just look around for inspiration to sneak activity into your day.”
- Take the stairs on short trips instead of the elevator.
- Park farther away and increase your step count.
- Walk over and talk with your co-workers.
- Use electronic reminders to increase your activity.
- Try a standing desk, treadmill, or stationary bike desk.
- Consider membership at your office gym or a health club close to work or home.
- Use a stability ball at your desk to improve muscle activation.
More than 60 years of research shows a link between physical activity and health. So, we must keep exploring new and simple ways to reduce sedentary behavior and gain health. Following the 6/60 rule at work and home, leading a workplace walking group, or walking your dog each evening will have you on the right path to better health!