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Stand Up And Get Moving! Do You Know Sitting For Too Long Can Kill You?

Stand Up And Get Moving! Do You Know Sitting For Too Long Can Kill You?

Whether you are a student or a professional, chances are you have a life that requires a lot of sitting. Whether it be listening to lectures for 8 hours a day or typing at a computer until you finish that important project, studies have shown that the average American sits at a desk for about 9-10 hours a day!

So let’s break that down:

If we assume the average American is also working 5 days a week for roughly 9 hours for about 30 years, that adds up to 492,750 hours of sitting. And that doesn’t even include the time we sit on our drive to work, school or while we binge watch our favorite show!

How sitting comfortable for too long affects you over time?

Sitting in itself isn’t necessarily a bad habit, but sitting a lot is detrimental. When you sit too often in your day-to-day life, you could experience an early death (due to cardiovascular diseases and even cancer), posture problems and issues in your back and shoulders, decreased hip flexibility, poor blood circulation and even organ problems [1]!

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Research has proven that sitting for long periods can even lead to obesity and metabolism issues. This can be a vicious cycle, since the heavier and more unhealthy you are can make it harder and harder to try to get up and move.

One recent study compared adults who actively spent less than two hours a day in front of a screen with those who habitually spent more than four hours a day sitting. Those with greater screen time had an increased risk of death (by any of the aforementioned causes) by 50%, and a 125% increased risk of heart attack!

Why are we so used to sitting?

With so much research proving sitting is a quiet killer, it seems surprising that so many of us are guilty of indulging in hours and hours of it. But it can be challenging to avoid sitting for long periods. Whether working or studying, sitting happens. And when you come home from a long day at school or work, you can feel mentally drained, leading you to more hours of down time while you “relax” with a tv show.

Habits like sitting down can also be hard to break when you’re surrounded by people doing the exact same thing. After all, when you go into work and sit at your desk, you’re most likely surrounded by other people also sitting at their desks. So it may not occur to you that this is a negative behavior. And if you tend to be a little shy, the last thing you may feel inspired to do is to stand up while everyone around you is sitting down.

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“But standing makes me tired!”

Unfortunatley, many of us try to avoid standing for any extended amount of time because it wears us out. But really it’s just that we aren’t as used to it as we are sitting or lying down. It’s easy to take the easy way and sit in a chair; we are supported and don’t have to rely on our own bodies to support us. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous mindset to indulge in, as too much of anything can be unhealthy.

Don’t let yourself get too comfortable with your chair

As is the case with breaking any bad habit, the first step is to accept that you’re doing something unhealthy. Thankfully, our advice isn’t to spend the rest of your day standing, but rather to take small steps to incorporate a healthy change.

Find opportunities to stand up

Even if you think you stand or walk a healthy amount, there are undoubtedly more opportunities for you to get up. If you’re making a phone call (at work or in your personal life), try to stand for part of it. If you take public transportation to get to work or school, stand instead of sit. While this may seem like a very small change, it can do your body a lot of good.

Stand while you work or suggest getting a standing desk 

At work, you may feel your only option is to sit down. However, numerous companies now make a standing desk. Some are full desks, while others can sit on top of a standard work desk and lift to a desired height. While these aren’t always inexpensive, it never hurts to email your boss and ask if this is something the company would expense. Typically, if a company recognizes it may help their employee be more productive (and healthier, leading to less sick days), they are happy to procure it. And if they are unwilling to spend the money, but you’d like to invest in it yourself, ask if they have a problem with it.

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Get your body moving with a lunch break walk 

Whether you have a standing desk or not, you can still get your blood flowing at work with a walk on your lunch break. While this isn’t a suggesting to skip eating in exchange for a walk around the parking lot, it is a suggestion to spend as many minutes as you can up and walking. You may be surprised to feel more awake and focused when you return to your desk!

Get your coworkers and classmates involved

When you’re trying to improve your health, don’t be afraid to involve others. Along with keeping you motivated, it can also help your friends, family and coworkers to improve their help as well. You may find that many in your office or school would like to take a walk with you on your lunch break or petition to get standing desks. And you’ll feel doubly good for having positively impacted someone’s good health!

Take a break, from your chair

Ask your boss if he/she would have an issue with you taking a brisk walk around the building every hour or so. Ideally you could stand and walk for every hour of sitting, but it’s important not to take advantage of this time away from your desk.

Include standing up as part of your fitness plan 

If you’re goal-oriented, set a goal of steps to meet every day. FitBit or different smart watches will help you track, but apps such as Map My Run or the native Health App on an iPhone will also do the trick. Start off with a goal of 7000-8000 steps every day.

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Go out and stand up

Hopefully after reading this article, you’re inspired to stand up or get walking, but don’t wait around and start tomorrow. Share this article with friends and family and go take a walk. This is the only body you have, so try to take care of it. Even if you’re young and healthy now, it’s so important to do as much as you can to maintain that. Good luck on your new habit!

Featured photo credit: kaboompics via kaboompics.com

Reference

More by this author

Jolie Choi

Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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