Are you a couch potato?
Do you sit on your couch more than 6 hours every day?
Or do you sit behind a desk for the same number of hours a day?
If you do, studies have found that you are putting yourself at risk for certain kinds of cancer, shortening your life for seven years or increasing up to 64% the chance of acquiring heart disease.
In a nutshell, sitting down for long periods will kill you.
That’s the scary part. However, the reassuring news is that it’s quite easy to correct this even if you love sitting on your couch or desk all day, 24/7 for 365 days.
There are two things you have to be conscious of when you want to counteract all-day sitting. They are the amount of time spent sitting and your daily activities.
The Immediate Effects After You Sit Down
You will only burn one calorie per minute right after you sit down.
This is because of the slower electrical activity happening in the muscles.
This is almost a third drop rate than walking. Sitting down for the entire day, every day, will eventually result in type 2 diabetes.
How do You Counteract This?
Correcting the scary effects of prolonged sitting daily means:
- Standing up once an hour
- Get involved in any physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day
An Australian study recommends getting short once an hour breaks from sitting behind a desk or couch.
Working out will not counteract the bad effects of prolonged sitting. Giving the body a rest from sitting by doing some moderate activity the whole day is the only way to counter the ill effects of sitting 6 or more hours a day.
What is Considered a Moderate Activity?
There is a big difference between exercise and moderate activity. A brisk walk, cleaning the home, gardening or any action that gets and keeps you moving is considered moderate activity.
Often, the reason that stops people from exercising for 30 minutes a day is work. However, there’s a solution which is to spread the 30 minutes throughout the day.
For instance, 10-minute breaks are the most practical and doable solution. Standing up and leaving your desk and walk around for a couple of seconds is already micromanaging your time and activity.
What’s the logic behind the 10-minute time segments? The body gets mini spurts of endurance with the mini-stress created by the 10-minute chunks. This means not having to stop midway when you ran out of breath when climbing stairs.
Sustaining an activity for 10 minutes every day is a small sacrifice for people that don’t have time to exercise. Building up the body’s endurance with the small 10-minute chunks eventually encourages people to stay up on their feet for long periods.
Make it Even Better by Using a Pedometer to Record Your Daily Baseline
The pedometer is an inexpensive but very useful tool to measure your activity baseline every day.
For instance, the pedometer can help track the number of steps you’ve taken for the day.
If you opt for a 30-minute walk, the pedometer will help track the number of steps you’ve done.
The numbers will vary daily depending on how large or quick your movement is.
The trick to knowing the baseline of your daily activity is to turn on the pedometer as soon as you get up from the bed.
The pedometer has to stay in your pocket from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Doing so will give you the stats of the activities you did for the day.
Less than 2,000 steps a day means that you’ve only accomplished less than a mile distance. Seeing terrible stats such as this is the encouraging push you need to keep moving and improving.
Excellent to check out:
Easy Ways to Improve Your Daily Steps Stats
Starting small and keeping at it is the most positive outlook to have when you want to take steps to improve your health. Challenge yourself by setting a daily goal. Here are some easy ways that do not need much effort to do but will substantially help you meet your goals:
- When at work, take the long way on bathroom breaks instead of the fastest route
- Park a short distance from the parking lot of your office
- Instead of emailing a colleague, take time to drop by their desk
- Pace while talking on the phone
People who work at home might find it a bit challenging to add moderate activities to their daily schedule. However, everything is possible so long as the motivation is there to keep going. Doing housework or walking over to the nearest coffee shop is already a moderate activity.
Setting an Hourly Alarm
An alarm clock set to ring every hour is a great way to remind you to drop everything and stand up. Even standing up for only one-two minutes every hour can help lower the bad effects of sitting all day. You can set an alarm on your watch and be notified every time you need to repeat.
You have the option to either have an alarm clock or download software to remind you of your hourly task. These micro-breaks can be put to good use even without leaving your desk: You can:
- Clean or organize your office while standing
- Wander around your desk
- Stand up for a minute or two
- March in place for one to two minutes
When you’re home and sitting in front of the TV binge-watching movies, you can do the following moderate activity to stick to your goals:
- Stand and do some simple stretching every commercial break
- If it’s a movie marathon on Netflix, use the alarm clock to remind you hourly to stand and walk around
- When into gaming, the ending is a cue to stand up and pace around
The moral of this article is to encourage you to: get involved in physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day and to stand up every hour. Doing away with the negative effects of prolonged sitting means that you have to move the whole day even only every hour actively.