Don’t Let Sitting Ruin Your Health

don't let sitting ruin your health

There is a huge variety of things that the average person does on a daily basis that could potentially be dangerous. Even the commute to work – whether you walk, drive or take public transit – can be perilous in ways you don’t think about. There is one danger that most people deal with on a daily basis that – studies show – could be taking years off your life.

That hidden danger is sitting.

But the world at large is constructed to make people sit. You sit to get to work. You sit at work. You sit to relax. So, then, we’re faced with the question of what to do. How can you combat the dangers of sitting?

Stand Up and Do Yourself a Favor

It might seem like a fairly easy solution: To sit less… sit less. For many people, though, this can be a challenging change to make.

One thing you can do, particularly if you sit for work, is to take standing breaks throughout the day. Every hour, stand for about 10 minutes. Gradually, try to increase the amount of time that you spend standing until you’re able to stand for an hour. At this point, however, you’re likely to face another oft-ignored danger: Standing too much. Despite all of the dangers associated with sitting, simply standing all the time seems to merely be another extreme – not a real solution. Both anecdotal reports and laboratory studies have found that standing all day is not only uncomfortable, if can lead to a hardening of your arteries and an increased severity of varicose veins.

So, once you are comfortable standing most of the day, switch things up. Every hour that you’re standing, sit for 10 minutes. You should also be sure that, when you’re standing, you have the proper set-up. Your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle and you computer monitor should be tilted up to your eyes so that your neck isn’t straining. It may also be a good idea to invest in an anti-fatigue mat to stand on.

Move Often!

Even better than standing, though, is moving. Take breaks throughout the day during which you get up and move around. You might go for a walk – which could be an excuse to get something done in another part of your work place.

If you have a private place, or aren’t easily embarrassed, you might even squeeze in a little workout while you’re at work. Not only will this help you ward off the dangers of sitting (or standing) all day, it could be a convenient way to fit some exercise into an otherwise busy schedule. Numerous studies have shown that breaking your typical workout into smaller, more manageable bouts of activity has the same benefits as one long workout. The most common approach is to split up a 30-minute workout into three microworkouts of 10-minutes each.

It should also be noted that many workplaces are beginning to recognize the benefits of providing wellness offerings to their employees, like gyms. If this is true in your case, though, remember that one workout in the morning or at the end of the day still may not be enough to help you be comfortable sitting all day. For that, the best solution is still to take a short activity break every hour.