Have you heard that sitting is the new smoking?
Not only does spending hours sitting decrease our muscle tone, make us less flexible, and cause weight gain, but spending the majority of our day sitting can lead to several health risks including:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- increased risk of heart disease
- decreased insulin response which can lead to type 2 diabetes
- increased risk of colon, breast and endometrial cancer
- decreased bone density
Purposeful exercise is great – just not good enough
Our bodies are designed to move, yet in today’s world we spend most of the day sitting. Hitting the gym for 30 minutes, going for a daily 45 minute walk, or even running or biking for 1-2 hours doesn’t negate the impact sitting for 8 or more hours has on our muscles and health. That doesn’t mean you can give up exercise and lounge on the couch eating cookies. Instead of giving into today’s sedentary lifestyle, fight back.
4 ways to get up and move throughout the day
- Set your watch or computer to remind you to get up every 30 minutes. Walk to the water cooler, to a colleague’s desk, or even up and down one flight of stairs. 1 minute of exercise every 30-60 minutes throughout the day burns calories and strengthens muscles.
- Walk and talk. I started walking around every time I have a phone call, and meet some of my clients for a ‘walk and talk’ instead of sitting in the office. Instead of holding a meeting in the conference room – sitting – hold a walking meeting.
- Fidget. Remember how your mom complained that you weren’t sitting still? Fidgeting is a bonus, because this spontaneous movement not only burns calories, but it also helps decrease the health risks of sitting still.
- Alternate sitting and standing. Get a desk that adjusts height for sitting or standing, or go low-tech and put your computer on top of a stack of books or a box so you can stand and work periodically. Switch back and forth between sitting and standing every 20-30 minutes to add even more movement into your day.