You probably know that sitting on your couch for hours isn’t good for your health. Well, same goes for your office chair (no, you’re not off the hook because you’re working). Why? You’re not moving enough.
A growing body of research suggests that prolonged sitting messes with how your body metabolizes sugar and fat – and that can increase your risk of getting diabetes or heart disease, along with adding flab to your waist. Believe it or not, this is true even if you spend a couple hours a week sweating through intense workouts.
“Sedentary behavior is not the normal behavior of our body,” said Mandy Stogner, health and wellbeing consultant at Colonial Life. “Our body is built to flex, bend, and twist. Alternating between sitting and standing helps to improve circulation, posture, core stability, and your overall health in general.”
The easiest solution: Stand up. Just 10 minutes every hour will do the trick. Fun tech tools like the Fitbit and Apple Watch will even send you reminders. Or you can just set a timer.
Standing burns more calories, obviously. But medical experts also say that standing helps spark the body’s breakdown of sugar and fat. Sitting, on the other hand, stalls it.
Try standing when you:
• talk on the phone
• chat with a colleague
• are in a meeting
If your company offers sit-stand desks, go for it. Get your coworkers involved by taking turns signaling when it’s time to get on your feet.
With a little effort, you can do better than just standing up:
• have a walking meeting
• park in the farthest spot
• take the stairs instead of the elevator
• spend a few extra minutes walking to the bathroom – or go to one on another floor, and take the stairs
“Make movement fun by finding a walking buddy or challenge yourself to take the stairs instead of the elevator,” Stogner said. “When it comes to movement, every little bit counts.”
Journalist Mitra Malek writes about wellness, fitness and innovation. She has taught yoga regularly since 2006 and was a senior editor for Yoga Journal magazine. Learn more at mitramalek.com.