Recent research has turned traditional fitness advice on its head. For years we’ve been told that the body needs three or four workouts each week to maintain good health, but new studies suggest that those scheduled workouts have less impact on your health than how much you move—and sit—throughout the day.
Sitting down seems like a safe and harmless activity, but studies keep piling up indicating that too much sitting is downright dangerous. This Washington Post infographic details the many health risks of parking it in a chair for too long. Long periods of sitting have been linked to hypertension, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, muscle degeneration, and even cancer.
But enough bad news—the positive message emerging from this research is that getting up and moving around throughout the day can combat the negative impact of sitting. Better yet, you don’t even need a gym membership or special clothes. A few do-able ways to sit less:
Stand or walk around whenever you talk on the phone. And when you have an in-person meeting that doesn’t require computer work, ask if the other person is up for a “working walk” instead.
Walk to buy lunch instead of ordering in. Sure it requires more time away from your desk, but research done at the University of Illinois found that people who take breaks from work are able to focus better when they return—so both your body and your job will benefit.
Perform simple exercises on the hour. Whenever you notice that the clock has turned a new hour, do a few heel lifts, lunges, or squats. Okay, this could feel embarrassing if you work in a big open office, but try it—you might inspire some of your coworkers to move more too.
Take the long way. Whether you’re walking to the printer, to a meeting, or outside to grab a coffee, skip the short cuts and take a route that allows you to get an extra minute or two of movement in.
Move in front of the tube. We would never tell you not to binge watch your favorite Netflix series. But instead of parking it on the sofa for hours, get up every one in a while and stretch, walk in place, do some jumping jacks.
How do you and your friends move more? Let us know on Facebook!