In a previous post Sitting too long can undo all the benefits of an exercise program, we discussed the discovery that what “light exercise” you do during the majority of your day is probably more important to your health than your time spent in planned exercise activities.
Today we share 9 practical hints to help you improve sedentary behavior. The main rule to keep in mind: at least every 30 minutes, do something to move your body from your sitting position; and you don’t necessarily have to get out of your chair. But in general, the more you can do standing, the better.
1. Walk more, drive less.
If you can, drive or bike to work. Besides forcing you to move, you save money on gas, help the environment, and in cities, walking is often quicker and less stressful than fighting traffic and parking.
2. Even if you need to drive or take mass transit, walk some.
Rather than park right next your destination, park or get off the bus/subway a bit away so you still can walk some to reach your target.
3. Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
Stair climbing is a great way to exercise the large leg muscles, which helps release enzymes contained in these muscles that fight body fat.
4. At work: get up and walk, even a few steps, every 30 minutes.
Better if you can walk for a minute or so, but even a little bit helps. Avoid eating lunch at your desk, and rather than call or text someone in the same office, walk to them instead.
5. If you can’t get up and walk at work, take other measures.
When you are on the phone, stand up…standing up uses about 3 times as many calories as sitting down. And while sitting, don’t sit completely still….even tapping your toes and shifting in your chair regularly helps burn calories and your metabolic condition. Small movements many times a day add up!
6. Stretching, even seated at your desk, moves your blood and strengthens your joints.
Every so often you can makes circular motions with your ankles, raise your legs on your toes, stretch your arms above your head, roll your neck and shoulders, and contract and relax your gluteal muscles.
7. Office exercise equipment, simple to extravagant.
Keep one or two kg. hand weights at your desk for biceps curls, or even simpler is a “stress ball” which is especially good for keyboard users to stretch and strengthen your hand and forearm muscles. If you have a big budget and space, you could even install a treadmill.
8. Sit on a yoga ball rather than a chair.
Popular in California and by yoga enthusiasts, sitting on a big rubber yoga ball requires constant work from your back, abdomen, and legs to keep balanced.
9. Consider a standing desk.
The “latest thing”. For more details, check out this article from Wired magazine (solid, comfortable shoes are essential). If you can shift 2 ½ hours of your day from sitting to standing, after a year you can lose up to 9 kg. from the extra calories expended while standing.
The more measures you can take to sit less, and while you are sitting, to move and stretch, the healthier will be your metabolic state, and you may well live longer.
As an added bonus, moving around and changing positions and moving helps you think clearer. You might become more creative and productive, and enjoy your work more too!
See also in ProcuraMed:
*A new, more efficient form of aerobic exercise
*Testosterone levels rise in men who lose weight