Sitting for long periods of time can be hazardous to your health. It can make you more likely to develop obesity, hypertension, hyperglycemia, and other health issues. It’s not just a concern for people who plant themselves in front of the TV; it also affects anyone who has a sedentary job, such as sitting behind a desk or driving in a vehicle all day.
When you sit for extended periods of time, your muscles aren’t actively working and your posture tends to suffer. Sitting can cause your back muscles to become weak and stretched while your chest muscles shorten.
So what can you do about it?
Each week, make an effort to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking. Start slowly—and always speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. In addition to aiming for 150 minutes per week, try to increase your overall daily activity to keep your muscles moving and lower your risk of developing health issues.
Here are some tips to take a stand against sitting:
- If you sit at a desk most of the day, try to set a reminder to stand up for a few minutes every 30 to 60 minutes. Better yet, try to stand for part of the shift. If you’re stuck in a vehicle, try to contract and relax your muscles to keep the blood flowing and your muscles working.
- Stand instead of sit whenever you have an opportunity.
- Begin taking walking breaks instead of sitting in the break room.
- Walk over to your co-workers desks instead of calling them.
- Commute to work using your bike.
- Park farther away in the parking lot to add additional steps to your day.
- Be inefficient! We always try to do a million things at once because we always seem to be in a hurry. But becoming inefficient adds steps! When bringing groceries into the house, take several trips. When bringing dirty laundry to the washer, take several smaller loads instead of loading it all up into a clothes hamper. Take several trips over to the printer or copier to increase your daily activity.
- Wear a pedometer to track your daily steps. Take a three-day average—two week days and one weekend day. Aim to add an additional 1,000 to 2,000 steps for your daily goal. Sometimes, being conscious and setting a goal will help you go out of your way to be more active.
- Create a challenge with co-workers or your family to engage in certain behaviors, such as walking 100,000 steps each week, getting up to 150 minutes of cardio activity each week, riding your bike to work or school, or even doing a push-up and squat challenge! Get creative to help keep you motivated and moving more!
How will you take a stand?