Science Says Sitting Is Killing Us – So It’s IT To The Rescue!

By The Honorable John P. Gustafson, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio

A recent study, published in the January 20th edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine (on news stands now!) says that sitting for long periods is associated with one of our least favorite things – early death. Some news articles have gone so far as to compare the health risks of sitting at a desk all day with smoking.

If you are like me, news like this makes you want to do something. . . . But not something as radical as getting a stand up desk, or even more unthinkable, a treadmill desk. (Now, when they come out with the hamster wheel desk, maybe I’ll consider it.)

The problem with sitting for long periods at work is traceable to one major problem – we’re working. Unlike smokers, who feel the periodic need/urge to take a break for a cigarette, we get lost in our fascinating bankruptcy work and forget to get up and move around once in a while.

This is where IT can leap into your office and save the day! There are several computer programs out there that can give you periodic reminders to get up out of your chair and stretch, do jumping jacks, or go for a glass of water (which has the additional advantage of providing an insistent reminder to get up again . . . after processing).

One program that I have tested is “Breaktaker”, a very small free program that runs in the background. Click here for a brief article on Breaktaker.

The article links you where I downloaded my version of Breaktaker:

Periodically, at an interval you can set, Breaktaker pops up a message asking if you’d like to get up and take a break. On my home computer, I set Breaktaker for alert me every 45 minutes. You can either click “I did it”, or “no thanks”.

I like the program, but some of the suggested exercises – like neck rolls – seem a little too sedentary. It also frequently says “bonjour” on the pop up, which takes me back to junior high French class.  Not a good place. Other than that, I find Breaktaker to be a great addition to my computer.

On the other hand – while inspirational – clicking a desktop link to “Stayin’ Alive” tends to start annoying those around you after a week or so.

There are a couple of other free programs which claim to basically do the same thing – periodically remind you to get up and move:

  • StretchClock appears to do a bit more – suggesting “no-sweat exercises”.

Now, for those of you with government jobs who are reading this, you are probably thinking – “I hope that poor fool didn’t download a non-government approved program onto his chambers computer!”

Of course, I did not. Instead, I talked to my IT guy – Bill – who told me about a U.S. government approved computer program called “StretchWare”. This spiffy 2004 program will pop up a reminder to either “stretch now” or allow you to delay your stretch for 5 to 15 minutes. Then, it will suggest specific stretching exercises using computer graphics you haven’t seen since . . . well, since 2004.

Like Breaktaker, StretchWare allows you to set how often you want to be reminded to stretch. You can also either enable or disable a tone when the reminder pops up.

So, don’t just sit there – call IT and tell them you want to live long and prosper!


DSC01212_newJohn P. Gustafson was appointed United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Ohio in April 2014. In his former life, he was a bankruptcy law clerk, an associate and partner in a law firm representing both debtors and creditors, a solo bankruptcy practitioner representing debtors, banks and trustees, the staff attorney to a Chapter 13 trustee, and since October 1, 2007 he has been the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division. Judge Gustafson regularly writes and speaks on a variety bankruptcy issues.

No Author Biography has been linked to this Article.

Related Articles

October 24, 2021
By Merideth Akers, CPA, PHR, Comptroller for Bradford W. Caraway (Birmingham, AL) I have taught Compensation and Benefits to candidates preparing to take the Professional in Human Resources certification exam. These two topics include a great amount of employment law. So, I know just enough about employment law to be scared… or maybe cautious is a better term. I am...
June 30, 2019
By Henry E. Hildebrand, III, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee (Nashville, TN) Over the past twenty years, the judicial estoppel doctrine has had a significant impact on people who file bankruptcy. Judicial estoppel has grown to be a significant issue within the consumer bankruptcy system. The Commission was asked to address it. Judicial estoppel is a doctrine created to protect the...
Copy of Hildebrand-2016
April 30, 2023
A secured creditor would not be granted relief from the stay because the motion was based on the creditor’s failure to file a timely proof of claim.  (Grant) In re Flores, 2023 WL 2787514 (Bankr. N.D. Ind. March 8, 2023) Case Summary Mr. Flores filed a petition under Chapter 13 proposing to pay Gaeta Auto Sales in full, with interest,via...
February 16, 2020
By Lawrence R. Ahern, III, Brown & Ahern (Nashville, TN) Introduction This series has focused on the four bankruptcy-related bills that were enacted during the 116th Congress and signed into law on August 23, 2019. One bill, the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA), will be effective February 19, 2020. It appears in its entirety in Appendix B to...
Copy of Hildebrand-2016
October 16, 2022
Recently, news stories, political pundits, social media outlets and the talking heads have become keenly aware of the growing danger imposed by burgeoning student loan debt and the economic chaos it has caused and will continue to cause. Although the crisis appears to dominate our cell phones and news feeds, bankruptcy professionals involved in consumer bankruptcy matters are fully aware...
October 29, 2023
“FFEL and Perkins loans are different than other federally backed student loans as these are owned by private lenders, but guaranteed by the government.”
May 5, 2019
The CFPB (Bureau), May 2, 2019, issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which proposes to raise the coverage thresholds for collecting and reporting data about closed-end mortgage loans and open-end lines of credit under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) rules. The NPRM would provide relief to smaller lenders from HMDA’s data reporting requirements, and would clarify partial exemptions...
Academy Circle Logo Final
September 17, 2023
Recently Upsolve printed an article titled: “Why is Chapter 13 Probably A Bad Idea” by Jonathan Petts, July 27, 2023. In a nutshell the article says an unsuccessful Chapter 13 can leave you in worse financial shape. Further it states that it costs more than Chapter 7 and is less likely to be successful. Additional points by Upsolve are: Chapter...
June 21, 2020
By Academy Staff The Automatic Stay is one of the most fundamental aspects of the Bankruptcy Code, providing a Chapter 7 Trustee “breathing room” to investigate Debtor’s financial affairs; and providing Debtors in Chapter 13 time to formulate and confirm a Chapter 13 Plan without facing the imminent loss of assets. Equally important, most Courts have concluded that actions in...

Looking to Become a Member? offers a forum to advance continuing education of consumer bankruptcy via access to insightful articles, informative webinars, and the latest industry news. Join now to benefit from expert resources and stay informed.


These informative sessions are led by industry experts and cover a range of consumer bankruptcy topics.

Member Articles

Written by industry experts, these articles provide in-depth analysis and practical guidance on consumer bankruptcy topics.

Industry News

The Academy is the go-to source for the latest news and analysis in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy industry.

To get started, please let us know which of these best fits your current position: