Many medical experts now consider sitting to be as unhealthy as smoking. Studies have linked prolonged sitting with increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Most Americans spend more than nine hours per day seated. That’s a combination of all the time we spend at our desks, commuting in the car or sitting on the couch in front of the TV at home. Even if you exercise regularly, but maintain an otherwise sedentary lifestyle, you are still at risk for the negative health effects of sitting.
To avoid sitting for too long each day, incorporate these healthy tips into your routine:
Mix Up Your Commute
A daily commute by car, bus or train can add hours of sitting time to each week. If you live close to your job, try traveling by foot or on a bicycle a few days per week.
While at work, take a mini-break every few minutes to get up from your chair, stretch your legs and move. Water breaks are a great way to stay hydrated and minimize time spent sitting.
Give Your Desk a Makeover
While many of us are used to sitting down at our desks, there are many alternatives to the traditional desk. Try a using a standing desk for part of the day. There are several desk models that even convert between sitting and standing mode. You might also experiment with more “active sitting” by trading your chair for an agility ball for part of the day.
Enjoy An Active Hobby
When you get home from a long day, it may be tempting to relax on the couch or watch TV. To minimize your time spent sitting at home, take up an active hobby that will keep you on your feet and moving for an hour or so each day. Gardening, cooking, walking, hiking, painting or photography can all help you to enjoy your free time while staying more active.
Keep these tips in mind to avoid sitting for extended periods. Are you sitting right now while reading this? It’s probably time to get up and take a mini-break!