A recent study of more than 220,000 Australians concluded that sitting too much is associated with higher mortality rates compared with those who are more active. Oh, and if you sit 8-11 hours or more per day, but still exercise, it doesn’t matter! They say your odds of dying faster are still off the charts.
You probably already know that sitting too much every day isn't healthy. As a postural alignment specialist, I see what sitting (especially poorly) does to the body. It wreaks havoc for most — setting off a chain reaction of problems that ultimately lead to pain and injuries.
So, if you want to live longer ... and, if you want to increase the odds of enjoying a pain-free body longer in life, stand up now, and use one or more of these five ways to sit less:
1. Stand at least 33 percent of the time while working.
Yes, it’s possible to stand and work. Even if you can only get your butt off the chair for 20 minutes of every hour working, that’s huge.
Even if you’re typing, with a few adjustments you can probably stand quite comfortably and work for a while. You’ll need to tilt your monitor or reposition it higher.
Ditto for your keyboard. You might have to place something underneath it to raise it up. Or if you’re using a laptop, you might have to work from something higher than a table — like a countertop.
If you absolutely have to sit down for hours and hours a day typing and using the computer, I highly suggest you look at getting or making a standing desk. It’s your health.
2. Use dictation software to write more.
If you have a smartphone and use the voice to text, you’ve experienced how much better dictation software is today. Start doing the same for your laptop or desktop computer.
Just put the headset on and you can now walk around your desk. There are even options to use certain recording devices that you can transfer later to your computer, so you could take a walk and still work.
Want to give this a try on the cheap? Well, use your smartphone. Voice dictate an email, and send it to yourself. Cut and paste that wherever you need, and you’ve saved your butt some time in the seat.
3. If you have to go to lots of meetings, stand up when possible.
Now, I understand you may not always be able to control this. But if you can, do it.
If you’re the boss, or you suggested the meeting, just tell every one else how bad sitting is for their health: “So from now on, we’re going to stand up for at least part of the meetings.”
Who knows? Maybe standing up and walking around might spur some new ideas, too.
4. Stop sitting when you’re exercising.
This seems so obvious, but millions of people sit on their butts all day, then head to a gym and sit on a stationary bike to exercise.
And this goes for other exercise equipment too. Most machines have you sitting down and pushing or pulling weights. That’s a topic for another day. But, unless you’re in a wheelchair, my belief is that most of your strength work should involve your body in positions that more closely imitate real-life situations.
Isn’t that when you’re going to need that strength?
So beyond giving your rear a break from sitting, you’ll find you’ll exercise more muscles in ways that you can use daily.
5. Look for little ways to stand up over sitting down.
With a little effort, you can find ways to eliminate sitting. Here are a few:
- If you ride the subway, stand up and hold the bar.
- Watch part of your favorite TV show standing up — maybe even move your body a bit (I know, we’re getting crazy now).
- Listen to music or books on tape while walking.
Write down just two methods you’ll use to sit less, and commit to taking action now. Taking action will instantly make you feel better.
One of the secrets to living healthier and longer is living with peace of mind.
If you know sitting is bad for your health, and you’ve now taken immediate action to change, you’re mind will bring you a sense of peace.
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