Tiny Breaks From the Computer Can Battle Weight Gain

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Month of Little Steps to Health FitnessJanuary is BlogHer's Month of Little Steps to Health & Fitness, and we want you to share your favorite easy health tip! Click here to see how to play along. And check out all the tips so far in the Month of Little Steps to Health & Fitness series.

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I spend way too much time seated at my computer, writing. And no, the fingers tapping on the keys don't count as actual exercise. But a new study has found that you don't need to take long breaks in order to help shave centimeters from your waistline. Breaks as short as 60-seconds comprised of getting up and walking around can help you to be healthier.

But the researchers also found that the more breaks people took during the time they spent being sedentary, the smaller their waist circumference and lower their biomarkers of inflammation.

In fact, the top 25 per cent of people with sedentary workdays who took the most breaks had a waist circumference that was, on average, 4.1 cm smaller than those in the lowest 25 per cent.

The breaks didn't need to involve exercise; they could be as simple as getting up and walking around. And the breaks could be as short as 60 seconds for them to offer benefits.

See, there's no excuse anymore. All you have to do right now is set a timer to remind yourself that it's break time, and then go for a quick stroll around the office. Or around your house. Or outside if you can tack on an extra few minutes and get some fresh air to boot.

Because while we get the concept that exercise is good and will lead you towards better health, I don't think we really understand how much the opposite is true -- that being sedentary and spending hours a day sitting can be incredibly detrimental to our health. And not just in terms of putting on weight. It can affect cholesterol levels and cause inflammation.

So, instead of reading another blog post after this one, leave a comment (see, I'm tricky, trying to keep you in that sedentary lifestyle) about how often you take a break during the day and how you work in small breaks, and then get up and walk around the room. Your body will thank you for it.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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