Did you know Americans sit for an average of six to eight hours a day? What’s more alarming is that studies have found prolonged sitting is linked to all sorts of complications that threaten our overall health and wellbeing, according to a science advisory published in the AHA journal Circulation.
So what are we supposed to do about this? Sit less, instead of just exercising more. That seems to be the most beneficial remedy in getting people to change their behavior, as concluded by the team of experts who wrote the review.
See if you can intentionally disrupt the amount you sit by popping up and stretching or walking a little every 30 minutes. Here are some additional ideas to try:
- Sit on something wobbly, such as an exercise ball or a backless stool. This will force your core muscles to work. Make sure to sit up straight and keep your feet flat on the floor in front of you so they support about a quarter of your weight.
- Stretch your hip flexors for three minutes per side each day.
- Consider a stand up desk to alternate between sitting and standing at your work station. If you can’t do that, stand up every half-hour or so to walk. This can be an opportune time to refill your water bottle.
- Try yoga poses, such as cow pose or cat pose, to improve extension and flexion in your back.
- Take phone calls elsewhere. Even if you simply stand while talking on the phone, you’ll get your circulation flowing.
- Walk after lunch. Walking post-meal is great for digestion and spurs your metabolism – two great excuses to get moving.
- Do things in person. Instead of emailing your co-worker, walk over to their desk and have a chat face-to-face.
- Try a step counter. Step monitoring devices can help encourage you to move more by showing you how many steps you’ve taken throughout the day. Aim for 10,000 steps per day.
- Try the 20-8-2 recommendation. Out of every half-hour at work, experts recommend sitting for 20 minutes, standing for eight minutes and moving around for at least two minutes.
“More Evidence That Sitting Is Bad For Us — And Exercise Alone Won’t Save Us,” Alice G. Walton, forbes.com, Aug. 17, 2016.
“Stand Up, Sit Less and Move More, Researchers Say; Here’s How To Do It,” Carina Storrs, cnn.com, Aug. 6, 2015.
“The Health Hazards of Sitting,” Bonnie Berkowitz and Patterson Clark, washingtonpost.com, Jan. 20, 2014.