Why Sitting Too Much Should Scare You

March 21, 2016

Did you know that spending too much time sitting is as bad for you as smoking? According to the Mayo Clinic, spending most of the day sitting increases the risk of a heart attack as much as smoking does. Unfortunately, most Americans sit for 7.7 hours a day and some even sit up to 15 hours daily. Excessive sitting affects our metabolism negatively and is a factor in obesity, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, depression, and general fatigue. In fact, some scientists are beginning to tale about “sitting disease” and the American Medical Association agrees that sitting for too long is definitely bad for your health. The average American is sedentary for about 21 hours and active for only 3 hours a day!

Many of us have to sit a lot due to our jobs, school, or other factors. You might think that squeezing in extra work out time is the solution but unfortunately, it is not. The remedy is actually pretty easy – stand up! Standing is similar to walking in that in increases our metabolism and energy, burns more calories, improves our posture and blood flow, and tones our muscles. Here are eight easy ways to incorporate standing into your daily routine –

  1. Park your car far away from your office, the store, school, etc. Use the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator. Take the long route to the bathroom or conference room. When you think about it, it’s easy to work in extra time on your feet every day in small ways.
  2. If you are on your computer, set a timer to remind you to get up every 40 to 45 minutes. Then stretch, tidy your desk, or maybe empty the trash.
  3. If you have to be on a phone call, then use that time to stand up as well. Make it a habit to stand while on the phone.
  4. If a person you need to talk to is nearby, walk over and speak with him or her rather than sending an email or a text.
  5. If you have a long commute to work or school by bus, train, or subway, then try to stand while commuting rather than sit.
  6. When you are watching television, ignore the remote. Change the channels the old fashioned way by getting up and walking to the TV.
  7. Use commercials as a good time to get up and move around while you’re watching TV. Or, you can even do gentle stretches while you’re watching your favorite program.
  8. If you enjoy online games, then make sure to get up and move around between sessions or when a screen is loading.

So make sure to stand up at least once an hour, or even every 20 minutes if you can. If you have to sit a lot, consider trading in your chair for an exercise ball or getting a sit/stand desk for your computer so that you can still be online while you’re standing up. The main thing is to be aware of all the time you are spending seated and to make sure that you are finding ways to stand up every day! Your whole body will thank you and you will look and feel better right away.