You’ve probably known for years that spending too many hours sitting isn’t healthy. Not only does it mean that your body isn’t getting much exercise throughout the day, but it could actually be deadly. Sitting for long periods of time can be linked to a slew of healthy issues including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even cancer. And just like when you’re on a long flight, there’s always the risk of developing a dangerous blood clot. Getting up to move periodically, whether you’re working or indulging in a movie marathon is actually crucial to your health. However, the best way to do it is not via designated exercise times, but rather by adding bursts of movement to your routine every single day. Of course, we also need to remember the more we are inactive, the more natural mobility our bodies will lose, which becomes an even bigger problem as we get older.
Here are some things you can do increase your activity each day and avoid the dangers of “sitting disease.”
- Do stretches at your desk
If you work at a desk, try getting up and going for a quick walk around the office or doing a few standing stretches at your desk every 20 minutes or as often as realistically possible.
- Use a standing desk
If it’s a reasonable option, you should consider buying or making a standing desk. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube–some people even manage to rig up treadmills to their desks so that they can stroll while they work.
- Walk/jog in place during commercial breaks
Whenever you’re watching television for more than 30 minutes or so at a time, commit to walking or jogging in place during commercial breaks. If you’re particularly fit, you can also use these breaks to do sets of sit-ups, crunches or push ups.
- Take the stairs
Wherever stairs are an option, use them. You’ll be surprised to discover what an easy switch this is. Just because a place has an escalator or elevator, doesn´t mean we have to use them. Oftentimes taking the stairs is as fast or faster, and so much better for your body.
- Get out of the car
These days, there’s a drive-through or drive-up for pretty much everything–restaurants, pharmacies, box stores and even liquor stores have them. It might be tempting to stay in your car, but simply using your own two feet to run your errands can make a difference.
- Don’t wait for the closest parking spot
On that note, stop circling the parking lot until you find a spot close to the store, restaurant or theater entrance. Sometimes people drive around for long stretches of time to get a parking spot that’s just a few seconds’ walk closer to their destination. If you’re physically able, just head to the back of the parking lot straight away and get a few steps in on your way to the entrance.
- Use an activity tracker
If you’re the type of person that’s motivated by tracking goals, an activity tracker could be enough to get you moving more regularly. 10,000 steps per day is a common goal recommended by healthcare and fitness professionals, so it’s a good number to shoot for. Use your activity tracker to find out how far off you currently are and increase your activity level until you´re hitting 10k regularly.