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Combatting “Sitting Disease”: Getting More Activity in Your Day

October 1, 2015


You watch what you eat and make sure to get enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. You drink plenty of water. You hit the gym every morning for a healthy mix of cardio and strength training. You regularly get seven or eight hours of sleep a night. You’re doing everything you can to live a healthy lifestyle … right?

While all of these habits are important parts of a healthy lifestyle, you may still unknowingly be falling victim to “sitting disease.” If you regularly hit the gym or take daily jogs, it may be difficult to think of yourself as having a sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, if you spend the majority of your day sitting at a desk or engaged in a prolonged activity that exerts very little energy, you may still be at risk for the dangers associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

What is “sitting disease”?

“Sitting disease” refers to the increased risk of developing blood clots, diabetes or cardiovascular disease that is associated with people who lead largely inactive lives. Recent research has shown that even participating in regular exercise may not be enough to counteract the negative effects of sitting for extended periods of time.

So how can you add more movement into your day — especially if you have a desk job? We have a few ideas.

5 Ways to Move More Each Day

Remember the “20-8-2” rule

This rule refers to a recommendation from experts to try to get small amounts of movement every 30 minutes. Try following up every 20 minutes of sitting with at least eight minutes of standing and two minutes of movement.

Stand while you work

Standing desks have become more and more popular in offices, so consider forgoing your desk chair for a few hours each day and completing your work while standing up. Just make sure to wear supportive shoes!

Wear an activity tracker

Activity trackers like Fitbit and Jawbone Up have seen a surge in popularity recently. By wearing one daily, you can track your activity to see which parts of your day are susceptible to prolonged periods of low movement.

Have meetings on the move

Rather than sitting across from co-workers at a conference table for every meeting, consider doing laps around your office building or going for a stroll outside while you talk. Similarly, try standing up and walking around your office every time you receive a phone call.

Get up during commercials

After a long day at work, you may just want to relax and watch a few hours of television in the evening. Rather than remaining sedentary during your entire evening, use commercial breaks as a cue to get up and move. Walk a few laps around your house, march in place or do a few jumping jacks until your program comes back on. Every little bit adds up.

With these few tips and a stronger awareness of the dangers associated with sitting too much, you can successfully avoid falling victim to sitting disease. Share more ideas for adding in daily movement in the comments below.

For more ideas on staying healthy in the workplace, download our free guide: “Workplace Wellness.”