Tips to Avoid Prolonged Sitting

Avoid a vicious cycle of chronic health problems by simply moving a little more


The price of leading an inactive lifestyle is high and it comes in the form of physical pain and obesity.

Watching whole seasons of your favorite show may sound like the perfect Friday night for some, but you’re putting your health at risk after just a couple of episodes. You are literally sitting yourself to death. Sitting more than 11 hours a day increases risk of premature death by 40 percent.

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Sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950; physically active jobs now make up less than 20 percent of the workforce in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association. In 1960, about half of workforce in the country was physically active.

Getting up and moving during the day is a must but it’s easier said than done.

Stand up


Employers are becoming more conscious of the effects of sitting and are offering standing desks. Inquire at your job to see if you can get one and transition to an hour a time and work up to standing for your full workday, Ivy Dames, personal trainer at Transform 180 Training, says.

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The next best option is to ask for a stability ball on which to sit, she adds. “It engages your core as have to maintain stability. You also move your legs as you bounce off the ball.”

Walk and talk


Use non-private phone calls as an excuse to walk around the office. Even short calls will get you up and moving for a few minutes and this will break up the day, Dames says.

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Take the conversations outside or pace around in the conference room of your colleagues are distracted. Any moves – no matter how short and insignificant may seem – are a catalyst for being more active later.

Distance yourself from the trash


If you can, move your trash can and printer or anything else you use throughout the day away from your desk, Dames says. This way you have to get up each time you use them.

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Another great idea, Dames says, is to keep your water bottle half full. This is you’ll have to get up more often to fill it up. Also, more water means more restroom breaks, which means more moving.

Meet on the move


Ask to take your meetings out of the conference room and go for a walk. This is especially helpful for brainstorming sessions or just catching up on progress.

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If you’re having trouble thinking “outside the box” a tough run or strength training session might just be the answer to your creativity block. A number of studies on the subject have shown that physical activity improves creative thinking, for a couple of hours after exercise. That should be enough of a boost to beat whatever creative block is in your way.

Get off the couch


“People usually think that there is nothing for them to do but this is the wrong approach, Dames says. Set a timer on your phone every 10 minutes or so to remind you to get up and move.

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Try walking around the house during commercial breaks or doing a few jumping jacks, squats and some light stretching to break up your evening sitting.

Help your digestion


A light walk after dinner is ideal for digestion. It helps to get things moving before going to sleep. A 10-minute walk a half hour after dinner is perfect, Dames says.

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Exercise reduces bloating because, according to a Spanish study, even mild activities clear gases. You are breathing faster and your heart rate is up. This makes the intestinal muscles shrink, which helps prevent constipation and gas buildup by speeding up digestion.

Swap your lunch


If you can leave the office for a half hour, try taking a walk on your lunch break, Dames says. This will help you avoid the mid-afternoon slump and break up your day. You can walk to a new place and grab lunch to bring back or even better get your workout done during lunch if you can.

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