You may not want to sit down for this one. Sitting all day is detrimental for your health. Modern Americans can sit for up to 8 hours a day on average: in the car, at work, the kitchen table, our home computer, and in front of the television. A sedentary lifestyle is not only bad for our waistlines, there is mounting evidence that sitting long periods also increases our risk of disease. Is this more depressing health news? But this one actually has a simple solution… STAND UP!
If you have a sedentary job, health researchers suggest you take a break at least every 25-30 minutes and get up and walk around for 1-2 minutes. And if you find that walking around is impossible in any given situation, just stand up! We burn calories just by standing. If it’s not possible at the office, you can create a standing computer station at home by stationing your computer on a surface the height of your lowest rib.
Why go to this trouble?
Heart Disease: Blood flow is sluggish during long sitting, allowing fatty acids to more easily clog the heart. It’s linked to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Sedentary people are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those more active.
Diabetes: The pancreas is the organ that produces insulin, a hormone that carries glucose to cells for energy. But cells in idle muscles don’t respond as readily to insulin so the pancreas over produces it, which can lead to diabetes.
Cancer: Studies have linked sitting to a greater risk for colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. The reason is unclear, but one theory is that regular movement boosts natural antioxidants which kill cell-damaging free radicals.
Easy solutions to the all-day sit dilemma:
- Take the parking space far from the door
- Walk over to speak with a co-worker instead of emailing
- Stand when talking on the phone
- Take the scenic route around your building
- Set your computer on a countertop
- Invest in a standing workstation
- Stand when someone comes in your office to talk
- Have walking meetings
- Stand or exercise while watching TV