It’s no secret that sitting is bad for your health. The problem is that, at least here in the USA, a lot of everyday work and life is centered on putting your butt in a chair and leaving it there for most of the day. While it’s easy to write an article about why we shouldn’t sit so much, it’s a lot harder to give real tips for how to accomplish that. So, here’s your prescription for sitting less.

Commit to doing some of these tips for one week and see how things go. If you’re still alive after a week of doing this, then add a couple more of these suggestions and take it out for two weeks, and so on. Before long, you’ll be a pro at standing up and the envy of all your friends! If nothing else, you’ll be healthier without really having to do much at all, so how does that sound?

After a long day at work, it’s easy to want to come home and take a seat or lie on the couch and catch up on some TV, so here are some weekend/home tips to get things started:

  • If you have a dog, this is a gimme. Take Fido for a walk right when you get home. The light, repetitive physical activity will clear your mind from the work day, too.
  • Catch up on TV while you’re making dinner or ironing so you can stand while you watch.
  • Do 5 pushups or air squats every time a commercial break happens if you’re watching TV.
  • Master the art of the after-dinner walk. It’s a great way to clear the table and clean up right away (who wants to do dishes in the morning?!) and it’s good for your digestion. It’s a family activity that everyone can participate in and there’s a reason a huge part of Italian culture is based around the evening giro.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to get up and move around a lot at work, but if you do, take full advantage of it. Try to do some of these things to stay more mobile at work:

  • Lots of attention has been given to stand-up desks over the years. They’re a mixed bag for most people, but if nothing else you’ll hate it and spend a lot of time walking around your office looking for a place to sit!
  • Pack a light lunch and spend half of your lunch break taking a walk.
  • Stand when you talk on the phone or brainstorm. Use a whiteboard on the wall instead of sitting at a desk or using your computer to jot down ideas.
  • Install a reminder app on your phone or computer so you get up to take a spin around the office every hour.
  • It’s old-school, but someone has to take the furthest parking spot away from the building! Bonus points if it rains because you get a jog in without even trying!

None of these things is going to change your life by themselves, but if you make a few of them daily habits, the cumulative effect over the course of months or a year is undeniable. Sit less, live longer and be happier while you do it!

[1] Is sitting the new smoking? New science, old habit. Mayo Clinic Health Letter. 2014 Oct;32(10):4-5.

[2] Chau et al.. Daily sitting time and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 13;8(11):e80000.

[3] van der Ploeg et al.. Standing time and all-cause mortality in a large cohort of Australian adults. Prev Med. 2014 Dec;69:187-91.

[4] León-Latre et al.. Sedentary lifestyle and its relation to cardiovascular risk factors, insulin resistance and inflammatory profile. Rev Esp Cardiol (Engl Ed). 2014 Jun;67(6):449-55.

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