Sitting for extended periods can be detrimental to your overall health. So take a stand against being a couch potato by adopting these suggestions.
Many make a living sitting in front of a computer or at a desk. At home, you play video games, read a book or watch videos while seated for extended periods. At school, you listen to the lecture, take an exam or work in study groups while in your seat.
Prolonged sitting, however, can be harmful to your health. Sitting for extended periods can contribute to body pain and increased stress in the legs, arms, neck or back. Although you can take meds or undergo treatment to obtain relief from back pain or other physical discomforts, this does not address the root cause of the problem, which is being sedentary.
Here are suggestions to help you break up long periods of sitting time:
- Create Alarms to Move Every Hour
Do you find yourself constantly immersed in your work? If the answer is “yes,” set an alarm in your work calendar or using your mobile phone to get up from your seat every hour. You could, for instance, walk to the pantry or another room to get a cup of coffee or fill your water bottle.
You also have the option to sneak in some exercise (which is especially important when you’re pregnant). Get outside and take a stroll around the block. Do a few lunges or squats near your workstation. Your goal in this short break should be to use your body in some way every hour.
- Try a New Hobby
Moving around and standing doesn’t have to be boring. Hobbies are a fantastic way to add some movement to your day.
Any hobby that does not require a lot of sitting will do. You could, for instance, run errands, go on a hike, tend to your home garden or clean your house.
Keeping your movement time a lot more interesting is essential for making movement fun and staying engaged. So, think of a kinetic hobby to spice up your movements.
- Use a Treadmill Desk
This is ideal for people working remotely or from home. Instead of sitting while you work, consider putting your laptop on a treadmill desk. Then, walk slowly while you get your tasks done. If you get work done on a tablet, simply prop the device on the console. Many treadmills will allow you to do that without modifying anything.
The key to using this kind of desk while still staying productive is to walk slowly. Start with a walking speed of one mile an hour or less. This activity will help you burn more calories throughout the day.
Pro-tip: a treadmill desk isn’t just for working. You can use it while gaming or watching videos on the web. Slow walking beats prolonged sitting for work and recreational activities.
- Gamify Your Movements
Tracking your movement breaks along with exercises, such as squats, stairs and steps, keeps you pumped up and helps you gamify your movements into a daily and healthy habit.
Consider downloading a gaming fitness app and begin tracking your progress. You’ll eventually learn how far your movements can go to help improve your day-to-day health.
- Time Your Sitting
Measure how long you sit for an entire workday. From the data you’ve gathered, decide how many movement breaks you need to take throughout the day.
The general rule is to take a movement break every hour or half an hour. If you find yourself sitting for four hours a day, for example, you’ll need to get up and do some light stretching for at least four times or more.
- Put on Indoor Shoes
As you begin to stand more and work out your body throughout the day, keep your feet comfy is vital to stay committed. So, invest in a good pair of indoor shoes that offer proper support. This will go a long way to make your standing breaks and daily movements more comfortable.
- Don’t Stash Snacks at or Near Your Desk
If you want to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll need to refrain from sitting and snacking. As much as possible, try to stash your snacks in another room. This way, you’ll be motivated to walk around and move throughout the day.
People need to eat to keep their energy up and stay healthy. If you are moving each time you need to refuel, this serves as an excellent way to introduce some movement to a habit you already have.
Just to set the record straight, there’s nothing wrong with sitting. What is wrong is sitting in extended periods. So take note of these suggestions and begin sitting less during the day for a healthier and happier lifestyle.