The World Health Organization has named physical inactivity as one of the leading causes of death worldwide. But if you think your daily workouts counterbalance eight-plus hours spent in a chair, think again. Research shows extended periods of sitting have a negative impact on your health, regardless of how much exercise you get otherwise.
The Trouble with Sitting
The mere act of prolonged sitting can lead to serious physical problems, mainly because a seated posture tends to keep your body totally immobile. Other forms of sedentary behavior usually allow for some postural changes and small movements that keep your blood flowing.
According to the Washington Post, long periods of chair-bound stillness may increase the risk of damage to your heart (and other organs), deep vein thrombosis in your legs, vertebral disc problems, and even an elevated risk for certain forms of cancer. Furthermore, a study cited by the American Academy of Family Physicians states that otherwise-sedentary individuals can boost their health simply by sitting less.
If you’ve always defaulted to sitting as your token position throughout a typical day, you may find the idea of spending more time on your feet a daunting prospect. Here are some simple ways to be more “vertical” during everyday life:
Consider a car-free or car-light lifestyle
If your workplace, neighborhood grocery store, and other amenities are within walking distance of your home, consider leaving your car behind and using your legs as a mode of transportation. Even taking the bus is a healthier alternative, since it gives you the option of standing for most or all of your trip.
Standing desks provide several benefits; in fact, a Texas A&M study found that students who stand exhibited improved brain function. Since standing in place for hours poses its own risks to the feet and circulatory system, you may also want to take up the habit of walking to your co-workers’ offices for conversations instead of just phoning them.
Add a treadmill to your passive recreation
Americans spend an average of five hours a day watching TV, according to the New York Daily News. Why not spend a portion of that time upright — or even exercising? Investing in a modest home treadmill means you can keep moving without missing a single laugh, dramatic moment or character revelation on the big screen.
Take a big step toward preserving your health and longevity by stepping away from the sofa or comfy chair. The next time you feel like sitting, consider standing or walking instead!