As a society, we sit a lot. We sit to work at our desks, to eat our meals, to commute to work or school, to watch TV and movies, and to play on our computers. Have you ever wondered what so much sitting might be doing to your body? Researchers have recently shed some light on just how much sitting is impacting our bodies…and the findings are not helping our waistlines.
Several studies have looked at what too much sitting can do to our bodies and our health. The studies have shown that there is a link between too much sitting and a larger waist circumference (a predictor of poorer health and metabolic syndrome) and a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). On a positive note, the opposite also rings true. People who stood more and moved more had smaller waist circumferences and lower BMIs.
So what does this mean for people trying to lose weight? The answer: stand up and keep it moving. Below are some ideas to help you decrease your sitting time throughout the day.
1. Take walk breaks: Sitting at your desk is unavoidable for many, but everyone takes breaks, so why not keep them moving? Break up the day with a quick walk around the office or block.
2. Try a standing desk: Many companies are becoming aware of the risks of increased sitting time on their employees. The companies are adding stand-up or adjustable desks to their offices. Ask your supervisor for a standing desk.
3. Stand up while on the phone: This is one work task that does not require being seated, so why not stand.
4. Quick trip? Try walking instead: Replace your quick car trips with a walking trip. Walk to the store, to restaurants, and to your neighbor’s house to cut out some of the sitting spent in the car. It saves on gas too!
5. Choose social activities: Swap sitting activities for active ones. Instead of watching a movie with friends, go bowling instead. Start a new tradition of walking with your family after dinner. Take shopping trips with lots of walking or volunteer at a local garden. Find an activity you enjoy, and get out there.
For more ideas on decreasing your sitting time, check out these resources:
American College of Sports Medicine
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Be Active Your Way Blog