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Living Healthy

8 Tips for People Who Sit All Day

December 21, 2018

A number of major studies say sitting for long periods of time puts you at higher risk for early death and speeds up aging. Now a new Australian study finds that if you stand for more than two hours you could be uncomfortable and find your reaction time and overall mental state compromised. The idea is to find a happy medium.

Health experts remind us to take a quick break from whatever has us occupied, and to move every 30 minutes. Here are eight ways to move more while you’re on the job.

1. Move Wherever You Work

Set your phone alarm or fitness tracker to remind you to move more, or maybe use a simple Post-It Note. Do squats, lunges and leg lifts at your workstation. March in place for healthy in-office aerobics while you're on the phone, then stretch to relieve tension. Challenge your co-workers to a fitness challenge – either through an app or go old-school and track everyone’s progress on a poster that everyone can see.

2. Motivate a Happy, Healthy Family

At home, commit to taking breaks from technology, optimally with the kids, and head outside. Go for a walk, play a game of tag, or see who can do the most jumping jacks in a minute.

3. Take a Stand

Standing burns 30 percent more calories than sitting. Try to stand when talking on the phone. Or better, set up your workspace to include a stand-up desk, and try asking your employer if they’ll foot the bill. Don't forget to alternate sitting, standing and moving, which is easier on your back and knees.

4. Have a Ball

Try swapping out your chair for an exercise, stability, or balance fit ball, which keeps you "moving" and helps your posture. You can find special chairs with balls included. Check with your doctor if you have spinal issues. New under-desk mini-exercise bikes and elliptical trainers are also available.

5. Change it Up

Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Go talk to a co-worker face-to-face on another floor instead of emailing or instant messaging. Get up and walk the circumference of the office every 30 minutes, which as a bonus can also help clear your head for better problem-solving.

6. Go the Distance

Maybe you can walk to work or take public transportation that includes a walking route from where you get off the bus or train. If you bike, you're helping the environment and your fitness. Apps like Google Maps can show you routes and travel times. If you do have to drive to work, park your car farther from the building's entrance to sneak in some extra steps.

7. Step Out for Lunch

Block out time on your calendar every day at lunchtime. Take a walk during your noon meal break, preferably outside in the fresh air, rather than sitting inside the whole time. Eat for 10 minutes and use the rest of your time to treat your body to this gentle but effective exercise. Maybe you can walk to work or take public transportation that includes a walking route from where you get off the bus or train. If you bike, you're helping the environment and your fitness. Apps like Google Maps can show you routes and travel times. If you do have to drive to work, park your car farther from the building's entrance to sneak in some extra steps.

8. Make a Break for It

Seek out a gym at your workplace or close by for more structured exercise before you work, at lunch or before heading home. That way, "I can't get there" is no longer an excuse.

SOURCES:
1) http://annals.org/aim/article/2653704/patterns-sedentary-behavior-mortality-u-s-middle-aged-older-adults
2) http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/much-sitting-linked-heart-disease-diabetes-premature-death-201501227618
3) http://annals.org/aim/article/2091327/sedentary-time-its-association-risk-disease-incidence-mortality-hospitalization-adults
4) https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm
5) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140139.2017.1420825?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=terg20&