We’ve all heard that sitting is the new smoking by now, right?
Like me, you’ve probably heard that sitting can cause health complications and even shorten your lifespan.
If your boss won’t spring for an office full of treadmill desks, you can still stay fit by finding other ways to spend more time on your feet.
In fact, a recent study found that walking for just 2 minutes each hour can make a big difference. That’s good news for the 80% of Americans who find it difficult to keep up with the minimum amount of exercise experts recommend. For example, the American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.
There are many practical ways to overhaul a sedentary lifestyle. Start by just standing more. Seriously.
The Benefits of Sitting Less
- Strengthen your heart. Sitting down slows your circulation and speeds up muscle loss, both of which take a toll on your heart. On the other hand, physical activity helps to prevent heart disease and even reverses some risk factors.
- Stay healthy. Prolonged sitting has also been associated with diabetes, cancer, and other conditions. A daily walk could mean fewer doctor visits and a longer life.
- Lose weight. Naturally, you burn more calories jogging than lounging on the couch. Think about how much better you look and feel when you stay trim. Plus, exercise is safer than crash diets that may not provide essential nutrients.
- Enhance your mood. Sitting affects your mind as well as your body. Boost your spirits with a gentle workout. You’ll probably find yourself thinking more clearly too.
Suggestions for Two-Minute Walking Breaks
- Break up tasks. Divide your assignments into 60-minute segments. That’s about as long as most adults can concentrate, so you may even increase the quality of your work.
- Create triggers. If you still tend to lose yourself in the flow, develop signals for when to stand up. Maybe you want to program an alarm on your computer, or time yourself according to your favorite radio news program.
- Engage in other light activities. Any gentle task can be substituted for walking. Tidy up the break room or do a few leg raises. If you’re at home, you could weed the garden or dance a few steps.
- Talk with your boss. It may help to let your boss or coworkers know in advance why you’re changing your routine. They may want to join you,
Other Ways to Reduce the Risks of Prolonged Sitting
- Exercise regularly. While a two minute walk is a good start, there are advantages to additional exercise. More intense workouts will condition your cardiovascular system, thicken your bones, and sharpen your mind.
- Eat a balanced diet. Studies show that adults who sit more, snack more. Try drinking a glass of water or tea to curb your appetite. Prepare healthy food you can nibble on anywhere, like yogurt or peanut butter on apple slices.
- Stretch your hips and back. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spine and hips. Stand up and stretch every hour. Bend forward keeping your torso close to your legs. Raise one leg, bend your knee, and gently press your leg across the front of your body.
- Turn off the TV. Do you sit in front of the TV after sitting at your desk for eight hours? Visit the gym or go out with friends instead.
It really is possible to keep your desk job while you take care of your body and mind. Strategic breaks and other healthy habits will help you live a longer and more active life.
Do you have tips for standing more and sitting less? Share them in the comments below or hit me up on Facebook.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.