How to Combat the Risks of Sitting All Day

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by Liz Bowen

There are now dozens upon dozens of studies that show how a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous to your health whether you are young or old, male or female. Sitting all day is just plain bad for us. The question becomes, how, in a modern society that supposedly requires us to sit at work, in transit and at leisure time (in front of the TV), do we eliminate this risk?

The potential negative health effects of a sedentary life are legion as being sedentary goes against our ancient biological nature as human beings, which dates back to our caveman days. Several studies have reported that these behaviors can increase one’s risk of developing conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. A recent research study adds the increased risk of a host of cancers to an already long list.

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While a new study, found that being physically active can reduce the effects of sedentary behaviors, many earlier studies have shown that the typical U.S. adult is sedentary for 60 percent of their waking hours and sits for an average of six hours per day, or even more. What makes matters worse is that even with regular exercise, these people are still at higher risk of disease. The good news is that even in our modern society, a sedentary lifestyle can be avoided and our bodies will reap the benefits.

There are a number of ways that we can incorporate physical activity into our day along with distinct periods of exercise that go a long way to combatting the effects of being sedentary. It is a great idea to adopt a goal of standing or walking at least 50 percent of the day, and not sitting for more than two hours at a time without taking a short standing or walking break.

For many of us, working in an office requires us to sit in front of a computer for the majority of the day. Even standing for two minutes once or twice an hour can have a tremendous effect on your health. Since most people can get away with that without appearing to shirk their job duties, that is one way to start.

Active sitting is actually a thing! You can impact your sedentary lifestyle by changing out your chair for a yoga ball for certain periods, or utilize a sitting disc, both of which can be easily incorporated even if you work in a cubicle setting. The micro movements that these devices create can add up to increased calorie expenditure throughout the day.

More and more employers are permitting their employees to incorporate modified desks and chairs that allow you to sit or stand at will and keep working without interruption. There are even treadmill desks that up the health ante quite a bit. This is still rare in office settings with the old school cubicle setup, but is becoming more prevalent in the open office environment as well as for those that work at home.

As cities work to increase bike lane access, biking to and from work becomes a way to shave off some of that time spent being sedentary during the commute. Even if your commute is too long to bike, it is pretty easy to bring your bike and ride the final leg to the office.

Even in our modern world, there is no reason to be sedentary at work or even when we are enjoying leisure activities. All it takes is a sense of commitment. Even if you need to set reminder alerts that pop up on your computer or your watch to remind you to change it up, your body will thank you with increased health and a sense of wellbeing.

 

 

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