What are you doing as you read this? Most likely, you’re sitting down. On average, Americans are sitting for 13 hours a day and sleeping approximately 8 hours. This totals around 21 hours of sedentary habits a day.
When you get home from a long day at work or school, you most likely sit down to catch up on your favorite TV show or scope all the social media drama you may have missed. While it may feel like the right thing to do after a long, mentally tiring day, sitting actually increases your risk of death. Even if you hit the gym on occasion, you may not be compensating enough.
Blame It on Our Work
Let’s take a trip back through time. In 1960, an impressive 50% of U.S. jobs required heavy to moderate physical activity. Presently, that percentage sits at a measly 20%, meaning the majority, 80% of jobs, are wholly sedentary or require very little physical movement. The vast majority of us spend our entire workday glued to our chairs and desks. For many of us, our fingers are getting the most exercise typing emails and messages.
The More You Sit, the Earlier You Die
Sitting more than six hours a day greatly increases your risk of an early death.
After two hours of sitting, your good cholesterol drops by 20%. While you may think going to the gym twice a week for an hour will make up for that, remember: we are sedentary about 21 hours a day. It doesn’t take a mathematician to know that 2 does not equal 21 and will therefore not compensate for it.
Sitting also makes us fat. It decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL) which helps burn fat.
Stand, Stretch, Move
The key is to stand, stretch, and increase activity as much as possible. Some suggestions for you to move more even though you have to sit most of the time at work:
- Standing in place increases your energy more than sitting. Something as simple as walking increases your energy level by about 150%!
- Try to substitute taking the elevator with the stairs instead.
- If you talk on the phone daily or love lengthy group texts, stand up while you’re engaged in these activities. Pace around your house, or chat on the phone while you walk through your neighborhood.
- Drink more water! So you will need to go to pee, and stand up to refill your water often.
- Set an hourly alarm to remind you to stand up and take a lap around the office or your house.
- And if you do have a busy office job, consider a standing desk. Here’re some great options: 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price
- If you’ve been meaning to catch up with Karen down the hall at work, don’t just hop on your email or instant chat; take a walk and talk to her in person.
- As added inspiration, use a health app to count your steps every day so you know how many steps you need to stay healthy and fit. Most fit people take about 5000 steps per day and sit less than 300 minutes. Start with that goal first.
Take care of your body and your lifespan and take a few extra steps every day! Remember to start small with substitutes for daily bad habits and try to stay aware of what you’re doing at all times.
After about three weeks, you won’t even have to think about it anymore; you’ll be walking and moving more than ever! Your body will thank you for it. Share this article with a friend so you can keep each other accountable, too!