When it feels like sitting is the new smoking, wondering how to counteract sitting all day becomes as much a health concern as limiting calories and avoiding carcinogens. The good news is a study that included around 8,000 people showed that light-intensity movement for 30 minutes a day may reduce the risk of death incurred by sitting.
Studies say it's time to learn how to counteract sitting all day
Most of us sit an awful lot! In fact, one study showed that 1 in 4 adults sit over 8 hours per day! It has been proven that prolonged time spent sitting can cause such health consequences as an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, certain kinds of cancers, and premature death. Fortunately, studies indicate that even modest replacements of small amounts of sitting with light physical activity may reduce the risk of premature death.
Here's how to reduce sitting time day after day:
Walk or bicycle to work or when running errands. Even commuting more actively (walking or biking) one day a week can increase your daily movement overall.
Take the stairs. Are you conditioned to wait for the elevator at your office? If there are several flights, use the stairs for at least a few of them.
Get up and stretch every hour. At first, set an hourly alarm or use notifications on your smartwatch. Before you know it, you will make a habit of breaking up the bouts of sitting.
Walk to a restroom on another floor to get extra steps.
Walk over to a co-worker or friend to have a conversation or deliver a message or documents instead of sending an instant message or email.
Stand whenever you can. Your body burns about 100 calories a day from just standing. If you know you'll be on a long phone call, try standing next to your desk.
Offer to meet co-workers away from your desk. Get up and meet them, or pick a common space a little further away, so you're both moving.
Maximize your lunch break. In the average workday, your lunch hour is a golden opportunity to get up and move. Pledge to not eat at your desk more than once a week. Get up and take a walk to a nearby park or conference room to eat your lunch.
Get a standing desk. This allows you to alternate sitting and standing.
Do some seated exercises. There's no shortage of activities you can do while sitting in your chair. They include leg extensions, marching in place, shoulder rolls, and seated heel and toe raises (which are great for reducing the risk of blood clots).
Park your car farthest away from your destination to increase your steps in and out of a building.
Get creative with movement. Find ways to make your day more active–from walking meetings to altering your schedule to allow more gym time.
Monitor your steps with a fitness tracker such as Fitbit or Garmin and sync them with your MyNetDiary account. You will see how these strategies can add up to thousands of extra steps.
Anything you can do to add minutes of exercise will help you combat the 40+ hours of inactivity each week. Before long, you'll feel energized during long days at a desk and also avoid hitting that afternoon "wall" because you've learned how to counteract sitting all day.