As some of you may already know, there are significant health risks that can result from too much sitting. Research shows that it can contribute to weight gain, cardiovascular disease and cancer. This is different from the effects of a lack of exercise. Even if you exercise once a day, it doesn't offset the negative impacts of prolonged sitting. To compound this, there are negative impacts for our eyes when we sit and stare at a computer screen for a prolonged period.
Given the nature of what many of us do for a career and / or a hobby, I would guess that we are probably near the high end of the scale with respect to sitting in front of a computer screen for many hours at a time. If you then add time sitting in front of a TV and time sitting in a car (e.g. while commuting), it can add up to many many hours per day. I wasn't aware of the research on this until very recently when I was given some info on it by a Chiropractor that I know.
A way of minimizing the effects of a lot of sitting is to get up and move around on a regular basis. The suggested approach is the 20-20 Rule: Get up and move around for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. For the health of your eyes, the 20-20-20 rule is to get up and look into the distance at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Once I became aware of this issue, I decided to write a 20-20 reminder program. I know that there are a few others out there but I decided to do my own. It's freeware and you can find my page with more info about this issue and a link to download the program [here]. It's a Windows program and should run on any system with XP or newer. It's portable so it doesn't use the Windows Registry and you can run it from anywhere.
I've been using the program and trying to follow this discipline for a week or so and I have to admit that 20 minutes rolls around pretty quickly. Now that I'm aware of the risks, it's harder to ignore the reminder and just keep sitting. If you'd like to adopt using it or just give it a try, I'd appreciate any feedback (especially if it didn't work as intended). I'd also be interested in any observations on how easy or difficult it was for you to follow this strategy.