Working hard and spending hours at your desk? Suffering from neck and back pain? Feeling the midday work slump?

Research confirms that continuous sitting for two hours or more can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and neck and back problems, says Dr. James Levine, author of Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It. He compares sitting to smoking and considers it more hazardous than parachuting.

Those of us who sit for prolonged periods of time know all too well about tight hips, low back and neck issues. Worst of all, the postural positions we assume for most of the day impact how we move for the rest of the day and as a result the quality of our lives, says Dr. Kelly Starrett, author of Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World.

Inactivity turns off our muscles, and the oxygen supply to our body and brain is significantly reduced. As a result, our muscles stiffen. We lose focus and concentration, and our work performance suffers, confirms Starrett.

On the other hand, physical activity leads to creative thinking, innovation, and optimal cognitive function. Movement acts like miracle grow for the brain, writes Harvard Medical School professor Dr. John Ratey in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain.

Physical activity enables us to think better by focusing and optimizing our brain. Even moderate movement like standing or stretching, or simple movement breaks, says Ratey, can supercharge mental ability, and sharpen cognitive skills.

So, what is the solution to a modern day problem? Dr. Starrett recommends to set the timer on your watch or smartphone to alert you every 30 minutes. Stand up, move around or stretch. Do this until it becomes part of your daily routine.

If you are motivated by feeling better and performing well, take short movement breaks throughout the day to optimize your body and mind for ideal wellbeing and work performance. Simple chair yoga, for example, can help as it works proper body posture, ideal muscle movement, and optimal breathing. This quick primer might just provide the tools you need.

Note: The quick primer link in this article lead to a free Skillshare online class. The class is free. Skillshare might prompt you to signup for membership. However, under no circumstances are you obliged to sign up for a membership to enjoy the class. Simply click on the link on the bottom of the prompt to opt out. To your health!

This article is an adaptation of the original published at on June 6, 2016.

Originally published at