We sit while driving and riding, at desks at work, at meals, while watching television or reading. According to a variety of research, we may be literally sitting our lives away. Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative (and inventor of the treadmill desk) is the person who told the world, “Sitting is the new smoking.”
Frequent sitting is shown to increase the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, obesity, muscular issues, type 2 diabetes and depression. While that information is alarming enough, the formula to combat the effects of sitting is to be active five minutes for every 20 minutes of sitting. With marathon workplace meetings and demands for increased productivity, it may seem impossible to fit the appropriate amount of activity in every work day.
You may not fit in a five-minute activity break every 20 minutes, but there are ways to decrease sitting-related risks:
Schedule a 45- to 60-minute workout every day. Maintaining a regular workout schedule boosts overall fitness to help balance sitting-related risks.
Stand and move while talking on the phone. A few stretches here, a couple squats there and every phone call becomes a mini workout.
Move items out of arm’s reach so that you’re required to stand and walk whenever you need the stapler or tape dispenser. Annoying? Yes, but so are all of the health issues associated with prolonged sitting.
When all else fails, stand up every 20 minutes. It’s not optimum activity, but it’s better than prolonged sitting.