Thoughts by Bruno Bernardino

How I’m avoiding sitting for too long with Time Out

My method and its benefits

March, 2014

My significant other enjoying a hike

It’s no news that sitting for long periods of time is harmful to your health.

There are also back and neck muscle problems associated with sitting for long periods of time, not to mention eye strain from looking at monitors for long periods of time.

Basically, in the past few months, I’ve grown more aware that what I’ve been doing for many years (and many others like me) is killing me slowly.

It’s worth noticing that some of these articles seem to be greatly exaggerating, are not very factual, and sometimes bluntly sensational (there are actually some interesting and valid points in the comments for that last link), but I think there’s a valid point to not sitting around “still” many hours a day straight.

I’m considering buying a standing desk (actually loved this one, but it’s crazy expensive), but before I have the funds for it, I’ve been doing something like an MVP, basically standing up and moving around a few times a day, during work hours.

Just stand up and move

For that, I’ve started using Time Out (since January), and the experience has been great.

Note that this isn’t about the app itself, because even a simple timer (set on your phone, for example) should work. It’s about how stopping a few times a day has been helpful.

Time Out has breaks and micro-breaks. I have micro-breaks set every 20 minutes, which make me stand up, stretch, and look far away from my screen (it helps that I’ve got big windows in my office, with a decent view outside), for 20 seconds.

As for the breaks, those are set every hour, which make me stand up, and run on a slow pace for 5 minutes around my house (and lately I’ve been using this time to practice some mindfulness).

You can do anything else in those 5 minutes (initially, I did some push-ups, jumping jacks, and other quick exercises), the point is you should move around.

The benefits

The benefits, apart from the fact I don’t sit for an hour straight — thus potentially reducing the hazards of sitting — , are that I actually feel more energized during the day, and feel less tired at the end of the day.

I also don’t remember having headaches or any back or neck pains for the past months, during or after work.

Summarizing, not only has this method helped me potentially reducing the problems of sitting for long periods of time, it has also helped me feel better (and slightly reduce weight).

I hope this helps you as well.

Bruno Bernardino

Written by Bruno Bernardino.
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