Friday, August 28, 2015

10 Ways to Offset the Negative Effects of Sitting All Day


Happy Friday, friends!

Are you all ready for the weekend? I am! I got a stand up paddle board for my birthday last month and am looking forward to practicing a little more with it.  This past week has been beautiful in Kentucky, almost fall-like, but the heat and humidity is supposed to come back for the next few weeks, so being in/near the water will be nice. Do you have any fun plans to enjoy the end of summer? Check out this post for some ideas if you're stumped.

Speaking of a stand up paddle board, what are some things that you do to get out of that chair you're in all day? In addition to Self Care being a buzz word/phrase in the wellness world, you've likely also heard the phrase "Sitting is the new smoking," right?  According to a recent Forbes article (source), "Sitting is the most underrated health-threat of modern time.  Researchers found that sitting more than six hours in a day will greatly increase your risk of an early death.”

Yikes!  Sitting more than six hours a day greatly increases your risk of an early death?  6 hours is nothing!  Most of us spend more time at our desks, working a computer for 8, 9, 10+ hours every day, then come home and get on a different computer or sit in front of the TV.  We're tired because we're less active and we're less active because we're tired.  It's a vicious cycle!

Another great article comes from Inc. earlier this year (Sitting is the New Smoking, by Bill Carmody).  This section really resonated with me:

"As you move around your office, you release endorphins (just like when you exercise) and your energy continues to go up. You feel more alive and you bring that increased feeling of power to everything you do. Your productivity improves as your energy soars.

Think about it. How different would your next meeting be if you were standing and moving versus sitting down? Would your room full of people "multi-task" or pay attention? Would you allow someone to drone on about something that doesn't matter or would you interrupt them to ask what they are really trying to say? Your whole attitude changes when you are full of energy and fully engaged. Sitting allows us to relax and disengage. Try it. Remove all the chairs from the conference room and notice the difference in the quality of the meeting."

Doesn't that totally make sense??  I've been in a few stand up meetings, and there really is a difference in the energy in the room!  A little weird at first, but who doesn't want to have a more productive meeting, and do good for your body at the same time?

But what if I exercise every day?

Unfortunately, even if you exercise every day, it's still not enough to offset all that sitting.  ".... a new study that's running in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that this kind of sedentary behavior increases our chances of getting a disease or a condition that will kill us prematurely, even if we exercise.  

Researchers from Toronto came to this conclusion after analyzing 47 studies of sedentary behavior. They adjusted their data to incorporate the amount someone exercises and found that the sitting we typically do in a day still outweighs the benefit we get from exercise. ...Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people all around the world, according to the World Health Organization.  Prolonged sitting, meaning sitting for eight to 12 hours or more a day, increased your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90%."  (source)

Yikes!!  If that's not motivation to get intentional about moving more throughout the day, what is?

What can you do to offset the negative effects of sitting?  

All hope is not lost!  Here are 10 ideas to get you moving more:
  • Set a timer to get up for 5 minutes every hour, if nothing else just walk the perimeter of your office space
  • Drink a lot of water or tea so you have to get up to use the restroom frequently (this really works!)
  • When you do go, pick the restroom that's not the closest to you, on a different floor if available
  • Every 30 minutes, stand up and stretch your arms over your head, taking a deep breath. Repeat 3 times
  • If you work from home, get up and do some housework for 5 minutes - dust a little here and there, take out the trash, start a load of laundry - you'll be surprised at how much you can get done if 5 minutes!


  • Get a standing desk or set up a way to stand and check emails on your computer 
  • Take phone calls standing up or walking around
  • Have walking meetings - bonus if you can walk outside and get some fresh air
  • If you have access to a treadmill desk - use it! (takes some coordination to get used to, but so great!)
  • Use a tracking device like a Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin - most of them will show your activity throughout the day, and you can see the times when you have the most opportunity for improvement.  Then be more intentional about increasing your activity during those times.

Some of these things may work for a little while and then you get burnt out (this happened to me - I would find myself just snoozing my reminders!). When that happens, just change it up and pick another method. Every little bit helps and as you incorporate some of these things into your day more and more, it'll become a habit! 

What are you going to do today to make sure you sit less?  Do you have other ideas that might help someone else?  Please share with me in the comments!

Contact me for a FREE Coaching session, and we can work together on your Journey to a Fulfilling Life!


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