Why should you Sit Less?
Have you ever given a thought about the harmful effects of sitting for long durations? If you are reading this article sitting on your desk, you would probably get on your feet by the time you have finished reading it.
We spend hours sitting on chairs in our offices while facing screens all the time or binge-watching web-series on sofas. With every other thing being home-delivered nowadays, we have embraced a sedentary lifestyle.
Excessive sitting has resulted in the exponential rise of modern lifestyle diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancers, and premature death.
Doing our tasks while not being physically active is the root cause of such diseases.
The need of the hour is to take frequent breaks of active physical routines between long hours of sitting.
Useful Tips to Sit Less and Avoid Unhealthy Consequences
Involve walking or physical activity while commuting to work
Every day when you commute to your office, school, or college, ensure to do lots of walking or any other physical activity. If possible, use a bicycle for commuting or take a walk. Use the stairs as far as possible rather than using lifts or elevators.
If you take public transport and the travel distance is not long enough, stand on the bus or train instead of taking a seat. Park your vehicle at the other end of the parking lot so that you can walk for some time before reaching your office.
Take active breaks every 30 minutes
You can set a phone reminder for taking an active break after every 30 minutes.
Leave your desk and take a coffee break. Simply take a walk till the other end of your office. If your office is on the first or second floor, simply walk up and down the stairs.
Ensure to include regular physical activity breaks in your daily schedule. Avoid calling or emailing your colleagues sitting nearby. Simply get up and take a short walk to deliver your message. Ensure to make or take calls while you are standing.
Get up to check your messages or WhatsApp chats periodically. After every half, an hour, stand and stretch your body.
Whenever you need to print, copy, or scan your document, stand up. If you have multiple restrooms in your office, take the one located farther away.
Adopt unstable sitting options
Change your regular desk chair with unstable sitting options such as exercise balls, fit discs, wobble stool, rocking chair, or swopper. It helps you to engage your lower body and core muscles while sitting.
Using unstable surfaces for sitting keeps you alert and inspires you to do some crunches during short breaks. It provides a good cushion and provides a workout for muscles while you are sitting.
Sitting on unstable surfaces also increases your non-exercise calories burning across the day.
Use a fitness app or activity monitor
You can use certain apps or activity monitors that help you to stay physically active by signalling you to move. You can set the time for scheduling certain physical activities.
When you get the alert, you may leave your desk and take a round of your office. It helps to keep your legs and hip muscles moving and maintains proper blood circulation. You can also set alerts for standing and doing yoga stretches suitable for desk workers.
You can also use the app monitor for giving alerts to tune into your favourite track and dance. Moreover, you can use the alerts for taking a walk to refill your water bottle or take a coffee or tea break.
Use your lunch break for physical movements
During your lunch break, take a brisk walk to the cafeteria.
Encourage your colleagues to leave their desks and get moving together in a group. Ensure to take at least 15 minutes to walk during your lunch break.
Avoid the temptation of eating your lunch at your desk. It not only causes you to skip your work breaks but also adds to your enhanced sitting time resulting in severe health risks. Take a stroll to a coffee stand, water cooler, cafeteria, etc.
Ensure to use a smaller cup of water or coffee so that you will be forced to get up and move to refill it more often.
Drink more water to stay hydrated and take more restroom breaks. While the microwave is heating your meals, don’t stand there but move around.
Set inactivity alerts
While you are engrossed in your work, time flies by, and you end up spending many hours sitting on your desk without going anywhere. You can solve this issue by using the inactivity alerts feature of smartwatches, activity monitors, or health apps.
You can set a vibrating alarm or audible beep that catches your attention and prompts you to leave your desk and take a stroll. Studies have found that walking for five minutes every hour helps in improving blood flow in the legs.
You can use polar activity monitors that give you inactivity alerts in case you have been sitting inactive for 45 minutes to an hour.
There are some smartwatches that give vibrating alarms when you are lying idle in one posture for one hour or miss certain fitness goals.
Get up and move for at least 5 minutes as soon as you get inactivity alerts.
Change the way you attend meetings
Spending hours sitting around a boardroom during meetings encourage a sedentary lifestyle. Change the way you take meetings by opting for stand-up meetings (excusing disabled colleagues). This helps in promoting creative thinking and improved wellbeing.
This not only cuts down your meeting time significantly but also results in productive and efficient meetings.
Another alternative is to use a conference bike for meetings for adding more creativity and physical exercises to your meetings.
Try working standing up
Have you ever tried working on your laptops while standing-up? There are many famous writers who used to write standing up.
Increase the height of your adjustable desk so that you can work standing up. Or else, you can set up a fixed-height standing desk at an appropriate height for ensuring good ergonomics.
You can also design your workspace in such a way that allows you to alternate between a standing desk and a sitting desk.
Working this way ensures sufficient physical movements and gives the flexibility to do stretching exercises more frequently.
Avoid prolonged TV viewing
Ensure to avoid watching television or laptop-screens for long durations at a stretch. Whenever there are ads in between programs, stand up and move around. It’s better to finish up your small household tasks during the ads.
Rather than staying glued to your TV screens, you can watch TV while preparing dinner, ironing your clothes, walking on a treadmill, and working on an exercise bike.
Sitting for a long duration has several adverse health consequences. It impacts our body’s metabolic system and causes increased risks of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression, etc.
You should look for opportunities for staying active throughout the day. Walk more, take the stairs, dance for a few minutes, stretch your body frequently, and avoid sitting for long hours.
Never miss any opportunity in your daily routine to stand up and move more. It not only keeps you healthy but also burns your non-exercise calories significantly.