How to stop sitting all day? Just get up

Gary Mogg claims lounging at work in a broken chair led to his injury iStockPhoto

(MoneyWatch) The headline of a recent article in The Huffington Post was "Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation." Attention-getting, to be sure. And while you can make the argument that past generations have had to endure as much sitting in the office as we do, the fact remains that doctors are increasingly concerned about the dangers of our sedentary lifestyle.

Indeed, spending more time on your feet is a good for your health -- you just need to find reasons to get out of the office chair so it becomes habitual.

If you're looking for a way to escape your desk, you might be interested in a suggestion buried in a recent article in the New York Times. Jack Dennerlein, a professor at Northeastern's Bouve College of Health Sciences in Boston, has borrowed an old eyestrain mitigation technique and applied it to ergonomics.

The traditional 20-20-20 rule calls for you to reduce the kind of eyestrain that happens when you spend the whole day looking at a computer screen by setting reminders to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

Dennerlein's new 20-20-20 rule calls for you to get on your feet and walk 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more every 20 minutes.

Although you can follow that routine on your own, an alternative is to use a simple scheduling application to remind you of the need for exercise. You can rely on the countdown timer on your phone or download one of the many programs designed to help you take periodic exercise breaks through the day, like Workrave (an app I've previously recommended).

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