Sitting gets a bum rap for good reasons. Study after study proves that chairs are basically a swift, direct path to disability and disease. And no, it doesn’t matter if you hit the gym after work: the simple act of remaining sedentary is enough to put you in an early grave.
A new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting hikes your chances of developing a disease or a condition that will lead to early death, even if you exercise. Another study revealed that adults who spend more than four hours a day sitting in front of a computer or TV have a nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause, and a whopping 125 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease-related events, including chest pain or heart attack,, compared to adults who less than two hours a day.
Prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk of everything from type 2 diabetes to heart disease. While sitting, you don’t burn many calories, your muscles get weak and you tend to eat more; says Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “When people are sitting, what are they doing? They’re often watching TV and snacking,” Dr. Manson explained in a recent Harvard Health Publications story.
With a society built around a forty-hour work week, and many jobs requiring a computer, what’s a person to do? Here are a few sit less/live longer strategies:
Try a standing desk
If you work at a desk all day, try switching to a standing desk. The platform raises and lowers so you can sit part of the day and stand during other times. If your physical therapist or doctor writes you a prescription, your human resources department might even pay for it.
Set an alarm
Program your phone to buzz every 30 to 60 minute and use that as a reminder to get up and move around. You could take a lap around the office, walk to the water fountain to refill your bottle or simply stand up and stretch.
Walk instead of email when possible
If the recipient is in the same building, walk over and deliver your message in person instead of emailing.
Use a small water cup or bottle
This tip comes from lifehacker.com; with a small cup, you’ll need to get up more frequently for refills of water, tea or kefir.
Lobby for a standing or walking meeting
Get your colleagues on board and schedule your next meeting upright.