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Walking for Wellness

by Beth on October 8th, 2012

Photo by Will Martinez

A couple of weeks ago I joined faculty, staff and students at George Mason University for the 4th Annual Happy Heart Walk. We met at noon and went on a walk around campus together. The event was a “Healthy U” initiative sponsored by Wellness by Mason to encourage people to stay fit by moving.

I go to the gym several mornings a week before spending a good part of the rest of my day sitting at my desk working on the computer. Exercising is good for my health, but the time I spend at my desk is not. Recent research shows that sitting all day is dangerous for our health. People who sit for long periods of time have lower life expectancies due to increased health risks including heart attacks and strokes. They also have larger bottoms and lower metabolisms. Personally, I could do without all of the above! And here’s the kicker: exercising doesn’t undo the negative effects of sitting for long periods!

The good news is that research also shows that we are most productive when we work in 90-minute intervals. So I’m making sure to take breaks throughout my workday to get up from my desk and move. I often take our puppy for a short walk after a 90-minute work session. It not only gives me a chance to move about, but I also use the time to practice being mindful. I focus my attention on the present moment; the changing leaves, the squirrels darting around scooping up acorns, the beautiful October sky, the puppy enjoying his walk. This helps calm my mind and I go back to work reenergized.

Walking with colleagues on your lunch break or scheduling walking meetings are great ways to move during your day. Folks at Mason can hit The Yellow Birch Trail, a walking trail around the Fairfax Campus, or they can take a spin around campus on a bike using the automated bikeshare program. Mason Walkin’ is a list of indoor trails in buildings throughout the campus where people can walk when the weather gets bad. So no excuses! Other ways to keep moving at work include taking breaks to stretch at your desk, standing when you talk on the phone, or sitting on a yoga ball.

Make sure you find ways to move throughout the day. Your health (and the size of your bottom) depends on it!

 

From → Well-being

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