We all need to move more. If you've paid any attention to health and fitness news over the past year, you're well aware of the countless studies which have uncovered evidence that links too much sitting (and all inactivity in general) to poor health.
Even those who regularly devote 30 or even 60 minutes to exercise, but then spend most of the day sitting (likely behind a desk at work) could be at risk. And a new study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health this week revealed evidence that links increased sitting in older adults to higher odds of developing a disability.
Although most research hasn't proven any concrete conclusions just yet, there's enough related evidence to show that the more you move the better off you’ll be. But just because you're young or you swim every day doesn't make you any less susceptible to what is now being dubbed as "sitting disease." You need to move more now and you need to make a habit of doing it every day.
Here are five easy things you can do today (and every day) to make sure you're moving as much as you can.
1. Walk Wherever You Can
OK yes, this is super obvious and you're probably rolling your eyes like, “Duh!” But every time you're getting ready to go somewhere, really think about whether or not it would be feasible to walk. Walk to the grocery store, to the coffee shop, to work; anywhere that's within walking distance.
Sure, driving or public transportation may save you time, but making the choice to walk whenever you can could save you you're health. In that case, it’s hard to argue that making the extra time isn’t worth it. And if walking to your destination simply isn’t possible, try things like parking your car as far away from the door as possible or getting off of public transportation one stop early. Every little bit counts.
Sitting at a desk all day? Bring a reusable water bottle with you to work. Fill it up when you get in. Stay hydrated (also good for your health) by sipping from it regularly. Here’s how you’ll move more: whenever it's empty, take a trip to the water fountain to refill it. Another way this will help you get up and out of your seat: you'll need to use the restroom more frequently too. (Just be sure not to over-hydrate.)
3. Step Up
I know, you’ve heard this one before, but how often do you actually choose the stairs over the elevator or an escalator? Make a commitment to taking a few extra steps every day by opting for the stairs anytime you have the choice between stepping up and standing still.
4. Stand Up
Just because there’s a seat doesn’t mean you need to sit. For example, if you take the subway or bus to work every day, give your seat up and let someone else take on a more sedentary lifestyle. Or better yet, open it up for someone who really needs it, like a pregnant woman or a senior citizen. After all, those poles and handles aren’t there for decoration.
Studies have linked standing (even if your still) to several health benefits, and as mentioned before, sitting for long periods of time probably isn’t great for you. So just like you can make the conscious decision to walk or take the stairs, pay attention and stand up whenever sitting down isn’t one-hundred –percent necessary.
5. Split Up
Obviously exercising is one way that you can move more. But what if you feel like you don’t have enough time to fit even a 30-minute sweat session into your day? Then try breaking it up into smaller increments instead. According to The American College of Sports Medicine: “One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise." Plus, with this approach you’ll easily be breaking up the amount of time you spend sitting throughout the day.