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Did you know that sitting for 8-12 hours each day can be just as harmful to your health as smoking?
Ya. I was shocked when I heard that too.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time increases our risk for chronic disease (just like smoking).
This hardly seems fair when our society requires us to sit all day.
We have to sit at work. We sit in a car to drive to work. We sit to eat. We sit to relax after work. Sit, sit, sit. All. Day. LONG!
Even if we manage to get in an hour of exercise each day, it’s still may not be enough if the rest of our day is spent on our behinds.
This is pretty dismal news, but you can take some steps to reduce your sitting time and I’m gonna show you how.
Why Is Sitting Bad For You?
Physical inactivity, along with tobacco use and an unhealthy diet, is one of the leading risk factors for chronic disease.
This means that if yo don’t exercise, or move often during the day you are considered sedentary and put yourself at risk for developing diseases like heart disease, hypertension, type two diabetes, and obesity.
You see, moving and moving often is good for the heart and other vital organs as well as your joints and muscles. You could argue that exercise is the fountain of youth.
Exercise keeps your muscles strong, your heart beating, stress low, and metabolism high. All the things that can help keep you happy and healthy long term.
Those who have a sedentary lifestyle usually don’t live as long and put themselves at risk. It’s estimated that 2 million deaths each year are attributed to lack of physical exercise.
That’s a lot of deaths that could have been prevented by simply moving more.
Do You Have A Sedentary Lifestyle?
If you don’t get the minimum requirements set by the CDC for physical activity then you are considered sedentary.
What are these recommendations?
- 150 minutes of moderate activity each week (walking, swimming, yoga)
- 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week (weight lifting, running, HIIT)
- A combination of the two.
Although these recommendations are important and helpful, it might not be enough if we spend 90% of our day sitting.
I usually get in at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity in each day, but as a writer for a living, I spend a lot of my time sitting in front of a computer. (Yep, I’m sitting right now.)
Once I learned that spending all day sitting was basically going to kill me, I decided it was time to make some changes.
How To Move (Or Stand) More
My favorite way to get more activity during the day also happens to be the most convenient: standing at work!
At first, standing might not seem like it would make that much of a difference, but over time it adds up.
It’s estimated that by standing you can burn about an extra 50 more calories per hour compared to just sitting.
So if you stand for half your day at work for 4 hours that’s an extra 200 calories each work day, or 1000 calories each week.
Of course, there’s more benefits than just increased calorie burn.
Standing promotes healthier blood glucose levels, more energy, and possibly less aches and pains.
I started standing at work about a month ago and since then I’ve noticed several benefits:
- My usual afternoon slumps disappeared. I no longer feel tired and the need for a nap.
- I feel more focused and less distracted at work. Win win for everyone.
- My lower back tends to get tight and annoyed at me if I spend too much time sitting. Standing most of the day improved this.
- I’m able to enjoy my down time better because I know I didn’t already spend my whole day on my butt.
- Since I’m already standing, it’s easier to get up and grab some water more often (which is also good for me) and walk around a little more during the day.
What If Standing At Work Isn’t An Option?
If you don’t quite have the set up to stand at work, just make it a goal to get up every hour and just walk around for a couple minutes.
Drinking plenty of water will solve this on its own. 😉
You might also try going for a quick walk outside on your lunch break. The fresh air and movement will lift your spirits and your energy.
Lastly, don’t forget those recommendations I mentioned earlier. Regular exercise outside of a working day is still important!
Here are some ideas to help you get moving.
Standing Desk Options
If you work from home or have the option to bring in your own standing desk, I thought I would save you some time and give you some ideas.
Here are some awesome standing desks to help you move more.
My hope is that all employers give employees the options to stand at work. Even if it’s just for a few hours a day, it can make a difference!
We all spend too much time on our behinds and standing at work can boost our health and maybe inspire us to make other lifestyle changes.
What are some ways you stay active throughout the day? Let me know in the comments!