Have you ever kept track of how many hours you sit during the day? On average, most Americans sit about 13 hours a day. You may be wondering; why does it matter how much I sit per day? Research shows that prolonged sitting can actually be bad for your health. That’s why it’s important to sit less and move more.
A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and even an early death. The more you sit, the higher your risk.
To counteract these risks, research suggests you need to sit less, stand up and move around for the good of your health. In fact, a recent study showed that people who stood and moved more during the course of a week had lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. And for those people who took even more steps during the day, they reduced their body-mass index and waist circumference by the end of the study.
Benefits of Standing and Moving More
We’ve all heard about some of the benefits of moving more:
- Reduced risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
- Reduced bad (LDL) cholesterol and increased good (HDL) cholesterol.
- Lowered high blood pressure.
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
- Lessened risk of developing diabetes and some cancers.
- Improved immune system.
- Better sleep that leaves you feeling more rested.
But you may be surprised to learn that just standing more can provide you with health benefits, too. Standing can:
- Boost your energy.
- Increase blood flow.
- Burn more calories.
- Tone muscles.
- Improve your posture.
- Ramp up your metabolism.
20 / 8 / 2 Mix
To get the right balance of sitting, standing and moving, experts recommend that you only sit for 20 minutes out of every half hour. You should then stand for 8 minutes and move around for at least 2 minutes. To stick to this schedule, you may need to set a timer. However, you should note that these are simply guidelines and aren’t absolute. There may be times when you need to sit longer, such as at a work-related meeting. And there may be other times when you can stand or move for longer time periods.
Tips to Sit Less and Stand or Move More
Some simple things you can do to sit less while standing and moving more are:
- Stand or pace while talking on the phone.
- Walk to see a coworker instead of calling or emailing them. Stand while discussing things with colleagues.
- Suggest that your company holds standing or walking meetings. Designate one person to take notes and share them with the rest of the group.
- Walk during your lunch hour.
- Park further away at work or the store and walk the rest of the way.
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
- Stand while watching TV. Or, walk in place or on a treadmill.
When you sit less and incorporate more standing and/or movement in your daily life, you can lower your risk of disease while adding years to your life.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.