Recent research shows that sitting for long periods of time may be as bad for you as smoking. Sitting for extended periods of time raises the risk of disability, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, not to mention obesity. Being too sedentary and spending too much time on our behinds is a real threat to our health.
To top it off, this new research shows that even if you exercise or go for a run outside every day it may not be enough to counteract the effects of sitting too long. If you’re like much of the working world, you’re stuck sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day and oftentimes find yourself relaxing at home on the couch when you get home. Here are some tips to help get you out of the sitting rut and up and standing or moving throughout the day.
1. Workout at your desk (or the couch)
Whether it’s doing a few squats or lunges every hour at your desk or getting up and walking around during commercial breaks, those little exercises help. Set a goal of doing some desk pushups, standing squats and chair dips throughout your work day to increase the blood flow in your body. If you like to watch TV at night, try doing 5 squats, 5 pushups and 5 sit ups at every commercial break. Any form of exercise will help break the sitting habit.
2. Set an alarm to move every hour
Immersed in your work? Set an alarm on your phone or in your work calendar to move every hour. Walk to the other room to fill your water bottle or get a cup of coffee. Do a few squats or lunges at your work station. Get outside for a walk around the block. Use the bathroom! Make a point to use your body in some way every hour.
3. Sit on a stability ball
This may seem strange to some people but sitting on a stability ball and not wobbling around actually engages your core muscles. It can also improve your posture and help decrease some risk for injuries from sitting down in a chair.
4. Take a stand
If sitting all day is a problem, try working and standing for part of the day. If you don’t have access to standing desk, try standing while talking on the phone or answering emails. Or simply stand and stretch throughout the day.
Use these ideas to counteract the negative effects of too much time on your behind. You should set a goal of standing up at least once an hour, if not every half hour, and moving around.