Healthcare professionals are sounding the alarm. All that sitting is killing us. In fact, prolonged sitting is as harmful to our health as smoking. Before you dismiss these warnings as alarmist, consider these facts.
Extreme sitting increases the risk of cancer
People who sit most of the time are more likely to be diagnosed with colon, endometrial, breast or lung cancer. Researchers followed more than 4 million people and monitored their rates of cancer. Results were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Chronic illness has also been linked to sedentary lifestyles
Super sitters are more likely to have diabetes. For those that have already been diagnosed with the illness, sitting exacerbates the problem. Extreme sitting has also been linked to high blood pressure and even depression.
Americans average about nine hours every day on their duffs, let’s get up! Why? Sadly, even exercise isn’t enough to save us from going too long in our seats. The more we sit the greater the danger.
You get the point. Enough bad news, here’s what to do:
- Again, get up. At work set a timer that reminds you to stand at least once every hour. Worried about wasting time? Walk with purpose. Go brainstorm with a colleague about an upcoming project, head for the copier, skip email and deliver a note…you get the idea.
- Consider a treadmill desk. Good desks are to be had for under 1,000 bucks. A lot of money yes but remind your chief financial officer about the anticipated healthcare cost savings. Alternatively, you can put your laptop on a high counter and work while standing for part of the day.
- Take all calls standing up and plan walking meetings.
- At home – watch your favorite shows on the treadmill or while you do your chores.
- Stand up during every commercial.
- Ditch your car every now and again. If you can, walk to your destination.
The key is to find small ways to break the habit of marathon sitting. Enlist others in the fight against constant sitting. Set up, “I caught you sitting” contests to make the adjustment feel fun, or at least less painful. Use your phone for support, too. Set timers that remind you to get on your feet throughout the day. Our body processes work more efficiently when they aren’t slowed by sitting. You may even lose a pound or two. As you might imagine, standing takes more work. What are you waiting for? Get up!