In recent years researchers have been sounding the alarm about the dangers of prolonged sitting. The human body is meant to move. When it doesn’t move the risk of death from health challenges such as high cholesterol, obesity, high blood sugar, cardiovascular disease and even cancer increases significantly. What’s more, the risks associated with prolonged sitting are not reduced by regular exercise. It is important to get your heart rate up with vigorous physical activity at least 30 minutes most days of the week, but what about the other hours of the day? Most of us spend the better part of our day sitting behind a desk or in front of the television. Therein lies the danger. To improve health outcomes pair exercise with regular movement all day long. Here’s how.
There are ways to avoid sitting too long even if your employer is not willing to invest in a standing or treadmill desk.
- Stand and walk at least every hour. Even a stroll to the bathroom or water cooler is helpful.
- Try a five minute office yoga or stretch break at mid morning and afternoon.
- Instead of calling or emailing a co-worker, why not walk over to his or her desk?
- Consider moving meetings, walk while you talk.
- Elevate your keyboard so that you can comfortably stand for 10 or 15 minutes of each work hour.
- Take the stairs whenever possible.
- Avoid eating lunch at your desk. If you bring your meal, walk to a picnic or cafeteria table. If you buy your food, walk to the vendor.
- Turn each commercial break into a sitting break. Get up and stretch or do a quick chore.
- Ditch your remote so you have to get up to change the channel or adjust the volume.
- Stand while folding laundry.
- Go out with your dog instead of just letting him or her out.
- Take a walk after dinner.
- Keep hand weights or resistance bands near the sofa for short workouts.
- Find an active hobby you love at least as much as your favorite television show. Less T.V. time may mean less time sitting.
Sitting less may just mean better health and even longer life. That’s because casual, regular movement throughout the day improves health by increasing blood flow and helping the body rid itself of toxins, glucose and fat. Avoid sitting too long. Look for ways to get moving every hour of the day. Every move you make counts in the quest for good health.