Countless studies have found a link between chronic sitting with a higher risk of many diseases including, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, kidney disease, colon cancer, and obesity. Unfortunately most jobs consist of long hours sitting at a desk or in an automobile. And surprisingly exercising regularly for 30 minutes to an hour certainly reduces the risk, but does not eliminate it. A study reported you need at least 1 hour of intense exercise to offset the negative effects of sitting for 6-7 hours per day.
For many people 1 hour of intense exercise a day is not reasonable. So what are we to do? Most people do not have the luxury of quitting their jobs that require prolonged sitting.
The answer instead is to move consistently throughout your day. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing (such as exercise 1-2 hours a day after working 8-12 hours). Instead break up your day with short “exercises” listed below
- While working at a desk, be sure to get up for 1-3 min every half-hour or so and move around.
- While watching TV, stand or exercise during the commercials
- Monitor how much you sit, and try to reduce it by realistic increments every week. You should aim for two to three fewer sedentary hours in a 12-hour day. A wearable monitor can help establish a baseline and assess progress toward a goal.
- Park your car as far away as possible in the morning (or if possible, walk to work)
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Ditch phone and email, and actually walk to speak to your colleagues in the office
- Walk during phone calls