Updated: Sep 13, 2019
I’ve got some good news for you today – plus some even better news! This is especially important if you work behind a desk most of the time.
First, do you remember a few years ago, when all the headlines blared that “Sitting is the New Smoking”? Basically, researchers looked into the health risks of sitting for hours at a time, and the conclusion was that if you sit a lot, your risk of dying was the same as that of a smoker – even if you exercise! The good news is that while those headlines might have started with a grain of truth, they weren’t 100% accurate. I will admit, I was guilty of passing on that information to try to get people to move more. 😬
New studies have shown that while sitting isn’t great for you, it’s definitely not as bad as smoking, according to researchers from Canada, Australia, and the U.S. who published a study in the American Journal of Public Health.
Sitting more than 8 hours a day DOES increase your risk of premature death and developing some chronic diseases by 10% to 20% … but it’s nowhere in the same ballpark as smoking, which boosts the risk of early death by 180%!
Here’s the even better news. If you must sit a lot, there are some things you can do to offset the risk of developing diseases related to being sedentary. 🙌🏻
Basically, it all boils down to being as active as possible when you’re NOT sitting.
At work, go for walks or move around during your breaks. One of my ladies from my a corporation I work with has taken up the challenge to do 5 minutes of stair climbing everyday at work. Now this may not seem like a big deal, but go do 5 minutes straight of stair climbing before you make a judgment call. Oh yes, she is also 65. She comes and works out with me twice a week, but recently couldn't come one week. So I gave her that challenge to do instead and now she is just doing that everyday! What an awesome healthy choice she has made! 🙌🏻
And when you are NOT at work, get up and MOVE!
Researchers found the risks of “excess sitting” could be mostly offset by getting about an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise every day. Now this might not be possible every single day, but attending a class or training session at least a 3-4 days a week will help rack up your weekly total.
Gardening, playing sports, chasing your kids or grandkids, or engaging in active hobbies will also help.
AND, while you are at your desk, try these tips to make it the best you can:
Get up and walk around as frequently as possible. Set a timer so you get up to stretch at least once an hour.
Make sure you stay hydrated! Drink water. Bonus: you might have to get up to make more trips to the bathroom 😉.
Double-check that your chair is set to the right height and supports you properly.
Be mindful of your posture while you’re sitting.
Take walking meetings, if that’s an option. If you’re discussing a project with a coworker, take the meeting outside for a quick walk. This also can encourage creativity!
Remember: your body needs and craves MOVEMENT! It will help keep you healthy, fit and feeling great!