How to Beat Your Sitting Habits: Tips to Avoid Sedentary lifestyle
When we talk about being sedentary, we talk about people who spend the bulk of their awake time sitting or lying on a couch or chair in front of a television or computer, moving only occasionally to get something to eat or drink.
But a sedentary lifestyle also includes those people who drive for a living – long-distance truck drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, etc. It also includes those who sit behind a desk all day long. Spending most of the day in a sitting position and moving less often is a big part of the problem. If our bodies are not moving, we are not using our muscles. People who don’t use their bodies for long periods of time find it harder and harder to move around as time goes by.
The sedentary lifestyle is already known to have the multitude of serious health risks including Cardiovascular health (blood pressure, heart disease), cancer, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, back pain, neck pain, osteoporosis, brain function, muscle degeneration, metabolic syndromes, and mortality)
Simple Tips to Avoid Sedentary Seating Habits at Work/Home
Be Active at Work
You can move around at work more than you think:
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Walk over and talk to your colleagues instead of emailing them.
- Take your lunch break away from your desk and enjoy a short walk outside if you can.
- Organize walking meetings.
- If possible add an exercise ball (Pilates ball) to your office and switch between sitting on the ball and your chair until eventually, you will not need the chair.
If you have a desk job or any other occupational activity that requires you to sit, make it a point to stand up at least every 20 minutes. Or get one of the standing desks that are becoming more and more popular. Take calls standing up. Stand up and get a drink of water. Set your alarm to snooze every 20-30 min so you remember you get up and stretch.
Ditch the Car
When possible, walk, bike, and run to work. If you live too far away, try parking far away from your destination and walking part of the way. Or get off the train/metro/bus several stops early.
Wash the Dishes
Instead of (barely) moving from table to couch, get up and clean your kitchen after dinner. You will be standing up and doing the dishes, and then engaging in more physical activity as you clean the countertops, sweep the floor, etc. Engaging in physical activity after eating helps lower blood sugar levels as well as the risk of insulin resistance in the long run.
Get Up During Commercial Breaks
If you watch television at home, you can use commercial breaks as more time for physical activity. Standing up and doing something during commercial breaks whether it be folding clothes, doing a few push-ups or sit-ups, or any number of other activities will break up the extra sedentary time that tends to accrue during most, if not all, screen-based activities.
Sit on the floor
If you enjoy watching TV after work on the sofa, switch to the floor. Start with 10 min sitting with a straight back on the floor (if you can). Try doing easy stretches and squats.
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