Stand More, Sit Less

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If you work 5 days a week, for 8 hours a day, that adds up to 1920 hours of sitting in a year.  Studies show that:

  • 30 minutes of sitting causes compression and fatigue in your spinal muscles, discs and ligaments.

  • Excessive sitting contributes to a decline in heart health and an increase in risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

  • Key fat burning chemicals in the body turn off after 1 minute of sitting

  • 2 hours of sitting reduces blood flow, results in a blood sugar drop and a decline in “good” HDL cholesterol by 20%

And that is just at the office! The average person may also spend 1.5 hours sitting to watch TV, 1.5 on their lap top, 1 hour sitting to eat and depending on your commute to work, even more sitting. That is a lot of time on your backside, most of which is likely with unconscious posture.

Unfortunately, your well-intentioned time at the gym can’t reverse postural stress that accumulates during the day.  A 2014 study followed more than 82, 000 men for 10 years and showed that a regular fitness routine did NOT counteract the effects of prolonged sitting. Individuals who sat 5+ hours a day were still likely to have heart disease no matter how much they exercised in their free time.

The key to success is finding more ways to move during your workday and leisure time. This means convert sitting to standing time.  Did you know that replacing 3 hours of day of sitting with standing can make a huge difference in your overall health? In fact switching just 3 hours a day of sitting to standing time is the caloric and activity equivalent of running 10 marathons a year!

Here are some suggestions on how to do that:

  • Stand when taking on the phone

  • Eat snacks/lunch or drink coffee/tea standing up

  • Walk over to a colleague instead of emailing them with a question

  • Make your day harder by taking the stairs

  • Plan a walking/standing meeting to replace a sitting one

  • Actually schedule breaks during your day to move, stretch and breathe

  • Divide your lunch break in half with time to eat and time to take a quick walk

  • Pick a co-worker to be accountable to increase your chance of success

Even small breaks add up to 3 hours if done regularly. Why not start right now?  You can do it.

Questions about this article? Contact Dr. Berry at [email protected]