How to Counteract Sitting All Day - Running Is My Passport

How to Counteract Sitting All Day

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Are you a couch potato?

Do you sit on your couch for 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 lifespan up to seven years, and increasing your chances of acquiring heart disease by up to 64%.

In a nutshell, sitting down for long periods of time will seriously affect your health.

That’s the scary part.

However, you can learn how to counteract sitting all day even if you love to bin watch TV or are stuck at a desk.

There are two things you have to be conscious of when you want to prevent the negative repercussions.

They are the length of time sitting and your daily activities.

Another solution would be to get a better chair. One that forces you to use your core muscles.

The Immediate Effects After You Sit Down

You instantly burn less calories sitting than you do standing.

This is because your body has to use more energy to support your muscles and bones to keep you upright.

Sitting also impedes blood flow to your legs and can cause swelling in your feet and ankles in a short amount of time.

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
  • If your work permits, get a standing desk

An Australian study recommends taking short 5 minute breaks every hour when you’re sitting behind a desk or on the couch for long periods.

Unfortunately, doing a workout before hand will not counteract the bad effects of prolonged sitting.

Taking hourly breaks combined with some moderate activity each day is what is needed to prevent the ill effects of sitting 6 or more hours at a time.

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.

But don’t use that as an excuse. Instead, spread the 30 minutes throughout the day.

If you’re pressed for time, 10-minute breaks are the most practical and doable solution.

Get up from your desk and climb a couple flights of stairs if that’s possible.

Jumping jacks are also a great quick exercise to get the heart rate and blood flow going if your situation permits.

What’s the logic behind the 10-minute time segments?

It’s a lot less daunting than trying to fit a 30 minute workout in somewhere and easier on the body.

Sustaining an activity for 10 minutes is reasonable for most anyones’ fitness level.

Building up the body’s endurance with the small 10-minute chunks will eventually enable longer workout sessions.

Make it Even Better by Using a Fitness Watch 

This is a very useful tool to measure your activity every day.

For instance, the watch will track the number of steps you’ve taken for the day and your heart rate.

If you opt for a 30-minute walk, jog, or run it will track your distance as well as calories burned.

Another great feature is continual monitoring that even tells you how well you slept.

Studies suggest that 10,000 steps per day is a good goal for the average person to increase their health.

By using one of these devices, you’ll be able to see how your measure up.

Even better is might be the encouraging push you need to keep moving more and improving your fitness level.

This is an excellent one to check out:

Easy Ways to Get Your Steps In

10,000 steps sounds like a lot, so breaking it up throughout your day is better when you want to take steps to improve your health.

Challenge yourself by setting a daily goal. Here are some easy ways that will help you meet your goals:

  • When at work, take the long way bathroom
  • Park your car at the end of the parking lot
  • 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 remember to take hourly breaks.

You have a little more freedom than being in an office setting, so do body-weight squats, knee raises, or even just some light stretching every hour.

Doing housework or walking over to the nearest coffee shop will get your blood moving and break up the monotony of your day.

And actually, you’ll probably find you’re more productive by taking these breaks.

Setting an Hourly Alarm

Programming your phone or watch to ring every hour is a great way to remind you to drop everything and stand up.

Even standing up for one-two minutes every hour can help lower the bad effects of sitting all day.

If you happen to have a smart speaker device with Alexa, then you can set it to remind you.

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 activities to stick to your goals:

  • Stand and do some simple stretching every commercial break
  • If it’s a movie marathon on Netflix, use an alarm to remind you hourly to stand and walk around
  • When into gaming, the ending is a cue to stand up and pace around


The biggest takeaway is to be aware of how sitting too long, whether it’s at work or at home,  can have a negative affect on your health.

Luckily, with just some minor changes to your routine, you can avoid these serious risk factors.

With hourly breaks and 30 minutes of moderate daily activity, you’ll be healthier and more productive.