Don’t Take This Sitting Down
Bodies were made to move! Our office chairs and the couch in front of the television should have labels warning us that sitting for prolonged, uninterrupted periods of time can be hazardous to our health. The risks from too much sitting range from weight gain, high blood pressure and obesity, to more chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality. The more we use technology (e.g. television, computers, and mobile devices) and reduce physical labor, we have to make a greater effort to stand up and get moving.
Research shows we sit up to 15 hours a day, on average. The recommended amount of sitting time is a maximum of two hours per day, with interruptions every 30 minutes. That’s quite a large gap to bridge, but short breaks of light intensity activity as a part of your daily routine are beneficial in reducing the health risks of prolonged sitting. Click the image below to view some videos with tips for breaking up your time sitting.
Even if you are conscientious about exercise, obtaining the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity does not lessen the risks caused by continuous sitting. By breaking up your sitting time, you will reduce the adverse health effects of sedentary behavior, while ramping up your metabolic rates, caloric burn and blood flow. Focus, energy and productivity all improve when you take the time to move. If you sit at a computer most of your day, make it a priority to find ways break up those hours in your seat:
- Take short, light intensity walks throughout the day, even if it’s just to fill up your water glass, or ask your colleague a question instead of sending an email
- Get on your feet for a brief stretch to relieve stiffness and take a few deep breaths.
- Make it a habit to pick yourself up when you pick up the phone.
Standing is as beneficial as walking to improve posture and tone muscles. Make the move to stand up for your health!
About Danielle Keenan
Danielle Keenan, Health Management Specialist, provides employee health management consulting services and programs to Keenan clients. She works closely with hospitals and healthcare systems and Keenan benefit consultants to design and implement programs to help employers achieve optimal health and productivity for their workers.