“Sitting disease” refers to the ill effects of living a sedentary lifestyle. Do you have a desk job, commute to work in your car, and watch TV to unwind at night? Such a lifestyle, with no exercising in between, could put your health at risk.
New research shows that consistent inactivity, or simply being seated too long each day, raises your risk of developing health problems, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer. Try making a few simple changes in your daily routine to help fight sitting disease without quitting your desk job, selling your car or getting rid of your TV.
- Adopt a whole-day approach to activity: Even if you get one hour of exercise in every morning, you could still spend the rest of your day sitting. It’s time to think beyond your structured workout.
- Add activity to your day: Try to be on your feet for 10 minutes of each hour. This could mean pacing while on the phone, stretching, or taking a walk down the hall.
- Shift between sitting and standing: Sitting isn’t the root of all evil; standing still for too long has its problems, too, such as causing a bad back or tired feet. The best approach is to balance sitting and standing throughout the day to experience both in moderation.
- Make changes a little at a time: Perhaps you know inactivity makes you prone to health problems, but you don’t have the motivation to exercise. Try adding little things throughout your day, such as taking the stairs, going for a walk on your lunch break, and stretching cramped muscles. Little changes make a big difference.
- Avoid emailing when possible: If you have a question for a co-worker a few rooms down, don’t send an email; walk over to her and ask the question face to face. This gets you on your feet with a productive purpose in mind and gets you away from the computer screen, if only for a few moments.
- Change the way the office works: Encourage yourself to get up more by rearranging your work space. Place the trash can away from your desk so you have to walk to throw things away; suggest walk-and-talk meetings to your boss in place of conference room meetings; and ask if the water cooler can be relocated to the window so you can enjoy gazing outside during brief water breaks.
- Allow technology to release you from your desk: Do work remotely from the park on a sunny day or walk around during conference calls. Allow mobile devices to help you be more mobile.
- Increase your productivity: A brisk, 15-minute walk may be all you need to pump up productivity in your last two hours at work. If you’re not sure you have time, give it a try once and see how much you’re able to accomplish afterwards.
- Exercise in the car: There’s no other option than to remain seated, but try clenching your abs at every stoplight and do calf raises while the cruise control is on. If you take mass transit to work, stand during the ride and consider getting off one stop early and walking the rest of the way.
- Watch TV actively: Break out the dust-covered treadmill, do sit-ups and crunches on commercial breaks, or tidy the room while you watch – just don’t be a couch potato.
These tips can help you lead a more active lifestyle and keep the ill effects of sitting disease at bay.