The body is not designed to be sedentary, so sitting all day is harmful to your health. Your body is made to move and it expects to do so, therefore in order to improve your health and keep your body happy, you should sit less and keep your body moving more. Studies have shown that sitting leads to many causes of death and reducing sitting time can help you live a longer and more healthy life.
The Benefits of Minor Reductions in Sitting
If you are used to sitting all day, reducing that time to under three hours per day may seem daunting. Small changes, however, are still beneficial. Reducing sitting time by half can result in an over 2% decline in disease. Even smaller reductions as little as 10% can have a healthy impact on your body.
Australia’s Sedentary Behavior Guidelines
Exercising for a short period of time in the morning does not outweigh sitting for the rest of the day. A short amount of exercise is not enough movement to counteract the damage of sitting all day.
Australia has become a pioneer in adopting both a physical activity guideline, and a sedentary behavior guideline. These guidelines advise minimizing sitting overall, and breaking up periods of sitting as much as possible.
Countries such as Colombia are also trying to get people to move more. Colombia’s government computers pause automatically to encourage employees to take active breaks.
Along with premature death, sitting is related to cardiovascular disease mortality, cancer, and diabetes.
Target Sitting Time
The first step towards changing the habit of being sedentary is acknowledging the problem. Monitor sitting time and make a conscious effort to break it up and reduce it.
The most effective techniques in reducing sitting time included having access to a sit-stand desk, tracking your sitting time, setting goals of number of steps taken throughout the day, set a timer to remind you to get up, and educate others about the benefits of standing and walking.
Using a Sit-Stand Desk
Sit-stand desks can reduce weekly sitting time by eight hours and sedentary time by over 3 hours. Additionally, employees like having the option of sitting or standing. It helps to increase energy throughout the day, keeping employees’ blood flowing and muscles engaged.
Less Sitting and More Moving
Switching from sitting to standing isn’t necessarily the answer to the problem, because it is still keeping the body in a sedentary position. Too much standing can also lead to health risks such as back pain and heart disease. The answer lies more in movement. Start by standing instead of sitting whenever possible, and come up with ways to move while you are standing. For example, pace your office while you are on the phone, walk around the office while talking to colleagues, and park far away from the office so you can have a bit of a walk in. People typically walk under 4,000 steps each day, when it should be closer to 10,000 steps.
Having the proper mix of sitting, standing, and moving each day will help you obtain optimal health. Using a pedometer can help you track and monitor your daily steps and make sure you reach your goals.
Keep in mine that small changes to your day can add up to more time moving and less time sitting. Walk while on the phone, stand while watching television, and walk and talk instead of calling or texting.
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