Some news outlets are reporting that sitting is actually KILLING YOU. For instance, CBS reports that “sitting more than six hours per day makes you 40 percent likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than three hours.” While I think this is a ridiculous and poorly worded claim there is something to it. When you're sitting, your muscles are not contracting. And because the major muscles aren't moving, metabolism slows down. We aren't structured to be sitting all day, and when we do that, our body goes into shutdown.
Researchers from the University of California at Irvine recently discovered that even a little exercise can produce big mental benefits. This is due to an exercise-induced brain chemical called norepinephrine, which has a is strongly connected to memory. And Small contends that exercise is the best memory aid of all. "It can increase your brain size," he says -- and the bigger your brain, the greater your capacity to remember. Hi recommendation: 20 minutes of brisk walking a day.
Our program at Hack Reactor’s software career accelerator offers over 800 hours of focused instruction and projects. It’s a hard and stressful work that requires a lot of brain power. Part of our goal is to have our engineers be energetic and constantly productive when they get their first job. For this reason, we have committed to encouraging healthy habits for them and our staff. In fact, it’s become kind of an obsession.
- Subsidized gym membership for our students
- Standup desks
- Healthy food delivered from Chefler at a discount.
- “Elevator Hater’s Club”/Stair Wars where students and staff compete to see how many times they can walk up the 8 flights of stairs to our floor instead of using the elevator.
- Pair push ups before lunch
- #WalksWeek where we give prizes out and encourage people to walk to interesting San Francisco locations during the day
- Engineers and instructors get together during lunch to play basketball at a nearby park and every class goes to play dodgeball on trampolines
- Olympic rings that we all play with and do pullups on
- Fitbits for employees and Hackers in Residence who compete for fun prizes
Keep it Moving
More and more research from medical professionals is confirming that movement is a life-long necessity.
A review study in PLOS ONE last year confirmed that people who spent more time being sedentary were 73 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome. What’s metabolic syndrome? Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Another fun fact: an October 2012 analysis of a self-reported survey found that even controlling for physical activity and body mass index, people who sit less had lower risk of having chronic kidney disease.
Research also shows how important moving around is for your brain. Studies of students have reported that physical exercise results in less disruptive behavior, higher self esteem, less anxiety and greater attentiveness. Dr. John Ratey of Harvard University describes exercise as “food for the brain.”
Our Commitment to Active, Healthy Engineers and Team Members
Because of our health initiatives, engineers and staff at Hack Reactor couldn’t be happier and more productive. Our developers are less stressed, leading to an easier time making it through our intense program, and ultimately helping them find better jobs. Hack Reactor’s staff is always using their FitBit, enjoying healthy Chefler meals and participating in our fun health challenges. The result is more productivity, brain power and positive attitudes for our company.
Being healthy contributes to overall happiness and loving your job. We highly recommend getting away from your screen, even if it’s for a few minutes a day and getting some exercise.
Do you think your workplace could do more to promote health and happiness? If so, drop us a line on Twitter @HackReactor and share your fun, healthy workplace ideas.