Would you like to know an easy way to boost your health this year? I promise, it doesn’t involve giving up your favorite foods or sweating to the oldies. If you can stand, you can do it. It’s that simple. The secret? Sit less!
Even Simple Exercise Like Walking
Offers Considerable Health Benefits
More research has emerged suggesting that sitting for long periods of time can be bad for your health – even if you exercise every day. The latest news, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, builds on previous findings that being sedentary has serious repercussions.
In this latest study, researchers found that heart disease risks increase dramatically among people who spend two or more hours a day sitting in front of a computer screen, television, or video-game box. Experts now think that prolonged sitting – what they call “recreational sitting” – is especially harmful to heart health.
Even for people who exercise, spending long stretches of time sitting is still harmful. For this reason, some experts recommend that people exercise at multiple intervals throughout the day, rather than in a single bout.
So, this year I’m making a commitment to myself to sit less. Over time, I’ve found that my sedentary time has increased. Much of my work takes place in front of a computer, plus time spent driving, watching movies, etc. Even work-related or recreational reading means more time sitting. Although I exercise every day, I tend to be more of a “single bout-er.”
To help me (and you) decrease “chair time,” I’ve come up with the following suggestions:
• Take phone calls standing or walking (if you have a cordless or mobile phone).
• Whenever possible, schedule walking meetings.
• Take frequently short breaks throughout the day. If you tend to get absorbed in your work (like I do), set a clock so that every two hours you can take a 10 to 15 minute walking or stretching break.
• Limit your time watching TV, playing video games or surfing the Internet.
• Keep up a regular exercise schedule every day.
• Engage in active play with your kids. Reading and watching movies together can be fun, but a good game of hide and seek or old-fashioned tag will get you and your children moving.
• Consider a standing/treadmill desk. Sure, they look a little different, but I hear wonderful things about them from those who use them. At the moment I have my eye on this cool Sit-to-Walk Station that allows for sitting, standing and walking. Unfortunately, standing/walking desks are expensive, but if you work at a desk for most of the day, the benefits could be well worth the price.
Katherine Brooking, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian, writer and expert contributor to numerous television programs. She has appeared on The TODAY Show, Live with Regis & Kelly, The Early Show on CBS, Good Morning America Health, and many others. She covers health and wellness topics in SELF Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times and New York Daily News. For more information go to AppForHealth.com.
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