OK, you already know you should exercise most days of the week, but did you know that you need to sit less too? Yep! An hour of exercise doesn't buy you couch potato time or grant you a permission slip to sit on your butt the rest of the day. Sitting less can be a challenge — especially if you have a desk job — but it's so important to your health to sit less and move more.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting per day, and 20 to 35 percent spend four or more hours a day watching TV. The study, conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys, reports that sedentary lifestyles shorten life expectancy. If Americans would cut their sitting time in half, their life expectancy would increase by roughly two years.
So, let's take a look at why sitting too much is actually now referred to as "sitting disease," plus some ways that you can get off your bum more often!
The Negative Impact of Sitting
According to JustStand.org:
- The American Medical Association (AMA) agrees that sitting for extended periods of time can be bad for personal health.
- According to Dr. James Levine, excessive sitting impacts our body’s metabolic system: “Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease.”
- Sedentary lifestyles increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to cardiologist Martha Grogan: “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.”
- Combating sitting disease with added gym time may not work: most people don’t have time for MORE exercise, and more exercise time may not even reverse sitting disease.
- Global studies show, on average, that we sit 7.7 hours a day, and some results estimate people sit up to 15 hours a day. Calculate your daily sitting time.
Ideas to Sit Less and Move More
Standing more increases your energy, burns more calories, tones muscles, improves your posture and increases blood flow.
- Stand up while you are on the phone. Better yet, pace!
- Walk more around your house.
- Take the stairs.
- Hold a walking meeting.
- Walk after you eat lunch.
- Park your car farther away from your destination. Don't look for that perfect spot up close.
- Take the long route!
- Dance when you can!
- Get vigorous about your daily cleaning and cooking.
- Work your calves when you brush your teeth!
- Stand up and stretch when you're at your computer a lot.
- Don't send emails if the recipient is in walking distance. Get up, walk and talk.
- Stand up or do exercises while watching TV.
- Consider a standing workstation.
- Refill your water glass every hour.
Find ways in your daily routine to move more and STAND UP for your HEALTH!
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