Between sitting at the computer, driving, and watching TV, we are growing increasingly sedentary.
The average person spends anywhere from five to 6.5 hours seated each day, which might not seem like much, but it translates to at least 35 hours of sitting time per week and a staggering 1,825+ hours in a year.
Unfortunately, sitting isn’t great for our health, and taking active measures to minimize it is crucial for our well-being and longevity.
The Health Risks of Sitting
Research links prolonged sitting with various health issues, including a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
A notable problem with sitting is that it leads to a lower calorie expenditure making it easier to create a calorie surplus and gain weight. As time passes, being overweight can contribute to a range of health problems:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Mental conditions (anxiety, depression, etc.)
The Benefits of Movement
Introducing some form of physical activity to your life is one of the most beneficial things you can do to manage your weight, feel better, become more productive, and reduce your risk of many conditions.
Movement is in our DNA, and research finds that active individuals are happier, more successful, and live longer.
A notable benefit of regular movement is that it boosts your mood. Exercise promotes the production and release of endorphins––opioid hormones that suppress pain and have favorable effects on the mind, often causing euphoria that lasts for hours.
Another benefit of movement is that it increases your calorie expenditure, allowing you to eat more food without gaining weight.
Regular movement also strengthens your muscles and bones, making you more functional and less likely to suffer bone fractures. These benefits become increasingly important as we get older because the age-related loss of muscle and bone mineral density can lead to disabilities and lower our quality of life.
Simple Ways to Move More And Sit Less
Moving more is challenging, but it all starts with a shift in how you approach your days. Instead of looking for the easiest way to do things, ask yourself, “How can I introduce small bits of physical activity into my day?”
Everyone’s life is unique, so no single solution will work great for everyone. But, being conscious of your activity level is the first step to moving more. You might work a desk job, but that doesn’t mean you cannot move around throughout the day. For example, take the stairs instead of an elevator, walk to your colleagues’ offices instead of sending them emails, and stand during meetings instead of sitting.
You can also set a timer on your phone and get up every 30 to 40 minutes. Stretch your body, move around your office, take a few deep breaths, and sit back down to continue working.
Another good way to move more is to ride your bike instead of using public transportation or driving your car. That way, you get to burn some calories, improve your cardiovascular health, and reduce sitting time. Plus, you get to save some money, which is always a welcomed benefit.