Did you know that sitting too much can increase your risk of almost every disease?
A study from the American Cancer Society has demonstrated the dangers of sitting for too long. It suggests that women who sit for six or more hours per day increase their risk of dying early by 19 percent compared with women who sit less than three hours per day.
Plus, according to the study authors, sitting too much has been linked to:
- Heart disease and higher blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Kidney, lung, and digestive disease
- A higher chance of developing cancers like ovarian, multiple myeloma, and breast
- Poorer mental health, including increased risk of anxiety and depression
Many of us have desk jobs where we sit for prolonged periods of time. We’re also more sedentary in general with the rise of smartphones and computers, video games, Netflix and social media. Experts are even claiming “sitting is the new smoking.”
So, what is the solution?
How to Avoid the Dangers of Sitting Too Much
The short answer is: get more active! And here are some ways to do just that.
1. Get Up Every Hour
If your job requires you to sit down for long periods of time, set breaks for yourself to get up and move around a bit.
Every hour, stand up, stretch, or walk around for at least two minutes.
Even this light activity throughout the day can make a significant difference! Do this as often as you can.
2. Build More Activity Into Your Work Day
Find ways to move more at work, like:
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Taking a walk during your lunch break instead staying at your desk
- Walking to your coworker’s or boss’s office instead of emailing them
- Setting up walking meetings at your office
3. Get a Standing Desk
Standing desks are a great health investment, and most are easy to set up at any desk!
Being able to stand as much as you want during your work day is a great way to combat the health risks of sitting too much.
4. Find Ways to Be More Active at Home
The warmer months are great for getting outdoors more! Use the sunshine as an excuse to do more things outside, like gardening, taking kids to the park, walking the dog, or running or biking instead of driving.
Don’t let bad weather slow you down either, though! Great indoor activities include yoga and Pilates, indoor swimming or rock climbing, stationary gym equipment, and dance classes.
Also, find little ways to increase your movement throughout the day by:
- Doing active/standing chores while watching TV, such as ironing, folding clothes or sweeping
- Making several trips when putting things away
- Setting a timer on your TV to turn off early, as a reminder to do something more active
- Parking far away at store parking lots so you have to walk more
- Walking around as you talk on the phone
5. Watch What You Snack on as You’re Sitting
Another danger of sitting too much is unhealthy eating behaviors.
Being more sedentary may encourage unhealthy snacking, so be mindful of what you eat while sitting throughout the day. Keep healthy snacks like baby carrots and hummus, apples or bananas, or kale chips nearby instead of processed snack foods.
The Bottom Line
Sitting too much is a health hazard, but it doesn’t have to be! Even though our world is more sedentary overall, we can stay healthy by incorporating as much movement as possible into each day—even a little at a time.