You exercise most days, are in good shape and maintain your body weight. So you don't need to worry about sitting at a desk, or chilling on the sofa for extended periods of time, right?
Wrong. Too much sitting can damage your health. According to researcher, Steven Blair, sitting for six hours a day or more makes you 40% more likely to die than someone who sits less than 3 hours a day. And that's even if you get regular exercise.
Sitting for long stretches of time seems to cause lower body muscles to just shut down, which has harmful effects, including decreased metabolism. Studies of activity and health found that men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity. Additionally, people who sit more have higher levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and even waist size, which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and a number of health problems.
Avoiding the pitfalls of sitting is easy once you know that all it takes is moving around a few minutes each hour (a walk around the block, some stretching exercises, or some strengthening moves). It may not sound like much, but an Australian study found that a few minutes of full body movement each hour, can actually make a difference. While you sit, your body goes into a sort of 'shutdown" mode, and just moving a few minutes every hour can counteract that shutdown. Every little bit counts, so be sure to move more throughout the day.
Simple Ways to Move Every Hour:
- Push ups - Drop do and give yourself 20. Push ups wake up the whole body in a hurry.
- Walking Lunges - Walking lunges, with or without weight, wake up the lower body and get your leg muscles firing.
- Wall Sits - Sit against a wall with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Hold for as long as you can.
- Planks - Drop down into a plank position and hold for as long as you can.Alternate leg lifts for an added boost.
- Lateral Jumps - Jumps side to side for 60 seconds. Take a rest if you need, but aim for a minute.
- Use a Stand Up Work Station - Stand up work stations are becoming more and more popular.