We’re all guilty of sitting a little too long on our rumps from time to time. Whether it’s due to working in a office, travel or simply binge-watching Netflix (that is sssooo me!), we all probably spend too much time sitting down.
Then here are some disturbing facts: Your risk of heart disease is increased by 64%. You’re also more at risk of certain types of cancer. Simply put, sitting down all of the time is killing you. That’s the bad news. The good news: It’s easy to counteract no matter how lazy you are.
Sitting all day long isn’t hard to counteract, but you have to keep your eye on two details: your daily activity and the amount of time you sit. Let’s start by taking a look at what sitting all day does to your body.
Right after you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slow down and your calorie burning rate drops to one calorie per minute. This is about a third of what it does if you’re walking.
Within five days of changing to a sedentary lifestyle, your body increases fatty molecules, bad cholesterol and insulin resistance. This means your muscles aren’t taking in fat and your blood sugar levels go up, putting you at risk for weight gain. After just two weeks, your muscles start to atrophy and your maximum oxygen consumption drops. This makes stairs harder to climb and walks harder to take. Even if you were working out every day the deterioration starts the second you stop moving.
After a year, the longer term effects of sitting can start to manifest subtly. Studies in woman suggest that you can lose up to 1 percent of bone mass per year by sitting for over six hours a day.
If this looks bad, don’t worry. We’re going to show you how to counteract the negative effects of sitting without totally altering your lifestyle.
Happlily, you only need to do two things to counter the effects of sitting all day:
* Remember to stand once an hour.
* Get about 30 minutes of activity per day.
This isn’t about working out (which is positive in its own right but doesn’t counteract the effects of long periods of sitting). It’s about creating regular of moderate activity throughout the day and giving your body a respite from sitting.
Shoot for ten minute chunks and you’re creating a mini-stress in your body that helps increase your endurance. In the real world, this means you won’t get tired halfway up the stairs. Think of it this way: you don’t train for a marathon by sprinting for ten minutes every day. Instead, you increase your endurance with longer jogs. The same goes for daily activity, you want to sustain activity for long enough to make it useful in your daily life.
Here are a few ideas for how to do it without really trying:
* Park near the back of the parking lot.
* Stand up to visit the file cabinet instead of rolling your chair.
* Walk over and talk to a coworker instead of emailing them.
* Take the scenic route to the bathroom instead of the most direct.
So here is a recap. Stand up once an hour and get at least 30 minutes of activity in a day. That’s it. Unless you’re overweight, you don’t have to start exercising or going to the gym to counteract the negative effects of sitting. You just have to make sure you’re moving throughout the day. You don’t even have to give up your TV marathons—get up and have a dance in the ad breaks once an hour. Happy days!