A 2017 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine showed that sitting for long periods of time can lead to early death. Sedentary lifestyles pose many health risks, including increasing your risk for heart disease and cancer. For most people, sitting is a part of life—office jobs, meals, relaxation, and many entertainment options all involve sitting down.
The newest advice from health experts is for every 30 minutes you sit, you should get up and take a brisk walk for at least five minutes. The CDC recommends moderate intensity workouts for 2 ½ hours each week, but even if you workout regularly, sitting for long periods can negatively affect you.
Here are some ways you can change up your routine, get up from your chair or couch, and combat the health risks associated with inactivity.
Even short walks benefit you in numerous ways. They clear the mind, exercise the muscles and lungs, and get you on your feet. Plus, if you can take a stroll outside in the sun, you’ll soak up Vitamin D which helps strengthen your bones and banishes aches. Don’t forget the sunscreen when walking outside though.
2. Take the stairs
Find a reason to use the stairs if they are accessible to you. If you’re at work on the third floor, go up or down to the next floor for bathroom breaks. Or, just run the stairs on a short break. If you’re not at work, and you find yourself deciding between stairs and an elevator, you know what to do. Stairs every time.
3. Get up during commercial breaks
It’s the end of the day and you’re relaxing while watching a show. You don’t have to sit there the whole time. When a commercial comes on, get up and move around. If you’re bringing Netflix and there are no commercials, make sure you’re moving in between episodes, or for longer movies or shows, hit pause and do a quick exercise.
4. Complete household chores
Doing chores is a great way to work your body and give yourself a space you feel happy and comfortable in. Make yourself some rules like “after this episode, I’ll do the dishes” or “once I’m 300 words in on this blog, I’ll go fold laundry.”
5. Make a list of local sights and visit them
The weekends can be the toughest time to avoid the sedentary lifestyle. You’ve worked all week and you’re simply exhausted. Motivate yourself by making a list of local sights you want to visit or revisit. Assign a landmark to each weekend day and then go. If you want to up the challenge, set a time limit you are required to be gone from the house and then continue exploring until that time is up! Be wary of benches though—just keep moving.
The first step is the hardest. It is easy to get addicted to sitting and to make it a regular part of your routine. With the steps above, you can break out of the sedentary life and find ha