If you spend most days sitting at a desk or most evenings parked on your couch, you’re not alone. A recent study estimates that American adults now spend an average of 6.5 hours a day sitting.
While no one is denying the importance of rest, too much rest isn’t a good thing. In fact, research has shown that the more time a person spends sitting, the higher the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers and earlier death.
What can you do to minimize your sitting time? Here are a few ideas:
- Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Get up to get a glass of water, take out the trash, or do some squats or simple stretches. These breaks are also important during long car rides and plane trips. Set an alarm if this helps you stay aware of the time.
- Stand during routine tasks. Take a walk while talking on the phone or stand during your favorite television show.
- Try a standing desk. If you use a desk at home or work, consider switching to a version that allows you to change between standing and sitting. You can also improvise with a high table or counter. Treadmill desks, which add in physical activity, are another option.
- Take your meetings on the go. Whether chatting with co-workers or meeting friends for a coffee date, suggest taking a walk while you talk.
- Invest in a fitness monitor. These devices can alert you when you’ve spent too much time without moving. Setting a daily step count goal can also motivate you to get up and move.