Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Sitting for more than three hours a day can cut two years off a person’s life expectancy, even if he or she exercises regularly, a new study finds. Watching TV for more than two hours a day can shorten life expectancy even further, by another 1.4 years.
Sitting in front of the TV isn’t the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful.
How to Increase Activity Levels on the Job
While sitting down is not the only thing that can cause trouble (adopting any particular posture for long periods of time can slow down your circulatory system), sitting is one of the most pervasive postures in modern civilizations. So how can you increase your activity levels if you have a “desk job,” as so many of us do these days?
Stand up throughout the day to stretch your body appropriately, the way it is meant to be stretched. The simple act of standing as tall as possible for a minute or two will help break the pattern of sitting, as long as you repeat it frequently. Be sure that while standing you take full deep breaths to expand your torso as well. We often have very shallow breath while we sit, counter that with big deep breaths as often as you can throughout the day.
People can increase their activity levels by trying to stand more, such as when they’re eating a snack or taking public transportation.
Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.Take walks around the hall in your office.
Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.
If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
Mounting research confirms that in order to stay optimally healthy, your body needs to spend the bulk of its time doing what it was designed to do: move.The impact of movement can be profound. For starters, you’ll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Even better, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the
body. When you sit, these processes stall — and your health risks increase. When you’re standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.
“Take a walk in the evenings. It’s good for the mind and the soul.”
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