Are you sitting down? You might want to stand up for this one. If you’re like most folks, you spend an average of 7.7 hours per day in a seated position. This comes out to roughly 117 days of sitting each year! While there’s certainly nothing wrong with sitting for a few minutes to decompress after a stressful day, studies show sitting too much can be really bad for your health and even your life expectancy.
You see, extensive sitting does more than contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. It actually impacts your body’s metabolic system. Sitting for a long time causes your muscles to burn less fat and your blood to flow more slowly. Both of these things put you at a higher risk for developing heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and other serious health problems.
For many of us, however, sitting is an unavoidable part of our everyday lives. From being stuck in a desk chair for eight hours per day to inching your way through commuter traffic, standing isn’t an option for a good portion of our day most days of the week. With this in mind, how can we combat the negative impact extensive sitting has on our health? Here are a few tips:
1) Use a standing desk at work. Believe it or not, more workplaces are warming up to the idea. Your boss might even commend you for suggesting a healthy change in the office.
2) Wear compression socks. Doing so can help relieve some of the swelling and aches in your lower body, keeping your blood moving back towards your heart.
3) If possible, stand up and walk around your office while on the phone. You can also use a smaller coffee cup or glass so you take more frequent trips to the break room.
4) At home, use TV commercials as an excuse to get off the couch until your program comes back on. Resist walking into the kitchen to get a snack each time!
5) As a general rule, try to get up and move around every 30 minutes whether you’re at the office, on an airplane, or sitting on the couch in front of your television.