You probably know that sitting on your couch for hours isn’t good for your health. Well, same goes for your office chair (no, you’re not off the hook because you’re working). Why? You’re not moving enough.
A growing body of research suggests that prolonged sitting messes with how your body metabolizes sugar and fat – and that can increase your risk of getting diabetes or heart disease, along with adding flab to your waist. Believe it or not, this is true even if you spend a couple hours a week sweating through intense workouts.
“Our human bodies are not made to sit at a desk all day long,” says Michael Booth, Unum’s senior benefits consultant and a triathlon coach.
Also on WorkWell:
The easiest solution: Stand up. Just 10 minutes every hour will do the trick. Fun tech tools like the Fitbit and Apple Watch will even send you reminders. Or you can just set a timer.
Standing burns more calories, obviously. But medical experts also say that standing helps spark the body’s breakdown of sugar and fat. Sitting, on the other hand, stalls it.
Try standing when you:
- talk on the phone
- are in a meeting
- chat with a colleague
If your company offers sit-stand desks, go for it. Get your coworkers involved by taking turns signaling when it’s time to get on your feet.
With a little effort, you can do better than just standing up:
- park in the farthest spot
- have a walking meeting
- spend a few extra minutes walking to the bathroom – or go to one on another floor, and take the stairs
- take the stairs instead of the elevator
“Even small increases can make a significant difference,” Booth says. “Be creative. Think of fun, motivational things you can do to bring activity into your day.”
Journalist Mitra Malek writes about wellness, fitness and innovation. She has taught yoga regularly since 2006 and was a senior editor for Yoga Journal magazine. Learn more at mitramalek.com.