Think about it: how much time each day do you spend sitting? We sit while driving, at work, at home watching TV, eating (sometimes), talking with friends, using the computer, watching movies. If you sleep for 7 hours and exercise for 1 hour – that leaves 16 hours throughout the day that most likely are spent sitting.
Many people have bought into the thinking that daily exercise of 30-60 minutes is all it takes to improve our health and maintain a healthy body weight. Unfortunately, there’s growing evidence that the time we spend sitting is at least as important as the time we spend doing purposeful exercise.
I’ll be honest with you. Even though exercise is a part of my day, the rest of the time I’m primarily sitting. In fact, I’m sitting right now as I type! The challenge is to figure out how to decrease sitting time, and instead stand or walk around. Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about changing your enviornment and decreasing your sitting time:
– Stand up whenever you talk on the phone. Even better, walk around while you’re on the phone, even if it’s walking in place.
– Put your computer on a stand, or adjust the height of your desk so that you can stand while working.
– Put a treadmill or stationary bike in your office, and use these whenever you’re on the phone or reading. Even better, rig up a desk so that you can walk on the treadmill or ride the stationary bike while working on your computer!
– Place a treadmill or stationary bike in front of your TV. If you don’t have room for both a treadmill and a couch – get rid of the couch!
– Plan activities your entire family can enjoy. Instead of watching TV together, go outside and kick a soccer ball, rake leaves, or take a walk. When bad weather keeps you inside, play Twister or games on the Wii to keep moving.
– Instead of meeting friends for coffee, go for a walk, ride bikes together, or go snow-shoeing through the park.
Here’s the challenge: decrease your sitting time by 30 minutes every day this week. Next week, aim to decrease sitting time by 1 hour per day, every day. Give yourself at least 6 weeks to make these new, active non-sitting habits part of your daily life and you’ll have more energy and feel great.