Its pretty likely that youve heard about the dangers of leading a sedentary lifestyle. A 2008 Vanderbilt University Study of 6,300 people estimated that the average American spends 55% of waking time (about 7.7 hours per day) in sedentary behaviors such as sitting. From the commute to and from work sitting in the car, to sitting all day at work, to sitting and watching television to relax when we get home - its no wonder were risking our health! Its interesting how far weve moved away from the way we used to live. Not only did we evolve to handle stress in a different way than we do now, but we also used to spend a large portion of our lives walking, running, and moving around. Our modern lives (just in the past 100 years) entail sitting for almost half of the day - and that doesnt even count sleeping! Finding ways to work in just two additional hours of moving around or standing each day has been shown to reduce BMI, and decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Making that time to get up and move around can increase muscle tone, improve posture and circulation, and help burn more calories throughout the day. Humans are built to move, not stay stationary for long periods of time. When we aren't burning calories (using energy), our bodies store fat in order to save up that energy for later. But all that excess fat only makes it harder to get up out of that chair!
Here are some ways to increase your standing and moving each day:
- Anytime you get a phone call, stand up to talk.
- Set a timer to go off every hour during your work day. When it rings, get up and walk around the office. Even if its just down the hall and back to your desk!
- See if your employer will provide you with a standing desk. If not, get creative and build your own!
- If you use public transportation to commute, stand instead of sitting.
- Live relatively close to the office? Try biking to work instead of driving.
Drink more water! It'll keep you hydrated, but also increase the number of times you have to get up from your desk and walk to the bathroom.
Download an app to track your steps each day, and try to increase your number every week.
Take the stairs rather than the elevator whenever possible.
Create a workout challenge in your workplace, and build healthy competition with your colleagues!
Plan out ways to incorporate more movement into your daily life, rather than just during your workout.
Being aware of your sitting habits and coming up with creative ways to move more each day has been proven to do wonders for health! What are your favorite ways to get moving each day?
[Credit: Fawcett, Kirstin. Infographic: How Sitting Down Harms Our Health. Mental Floss.] [Credit: Park, Alice. Sitting is Killing You. Time.]