Here are two good reasons to get out of your chair or off the couch right now.
Do you have a sedentary job where you sit all day long? Are you working from home and find you’re sitting even more than you did when you were in the office? And when work is over, do you spend most of your free time still sitting, while watching TV, scrolling on your phone or playing video games?
All that sitting isn’t good for your health. Here are two good reasons why it’s time to stand up and get moving:
- Sitting is bad for your heart. A study published in the journal Circulation suggests that the more people sit, the more chance they’ll show signs of injury to their heart muscle. According to the study, people who sit for 10 hours or more a day are more likely to have above-average levels of troponin, a protein released during heart attacks that indicates heart muscle damage.
- Sitting may lead to an earlier death. Another study of nearly 8,000 adults, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed a direct relationship between time spent sitting and the risk of early death from any cause. The more people sat, the greater the risk of early death.
So what you can you do to reduce the amount of time you sit throughout the day?
- Invest in a standing desk or one that allows you to vary the height of the desk so you can alternate between standing and sitting while you work.
- Pace when you’re talking on the phone. If you have room to walk around, do so. Otherwise, march in place.
- Do squats or toe raises while reading the mail. Or at the very least, stand instead of sitting.
- Take frequent exercise breaks. Set a reminder to get out of your chair every hour and move for at least 5 minutes.
- Stretch often. You can do this while in your chair or stand up and really stretch your body to get your blood flowing.
- Take a walk at lunch. This can be done whether you’re working in the office or at home.
- Do something active when work is over. Instead of lounging on the couch, play with your kids or the dog. Rather than sitting and scrolling through your phone, go outside and talk to a neighbor (socially-distanced, of course).
Don’t think your morning run or your post-work trip to the gym gives you license to spend the rest of the day sitting. Exercising for the recommended 30 minutes or more each day doesn’t make up for the many hours you spend on your bum. Any time you can get up and move instead of sitting, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time, you’ll be doing your body good.
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Date Last Reviewed: March 16, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD