Recent studies have shown that prolonged instances of sitting raises the risk of many diseases and ailments. Sitting has been compared to smoking due to emerging research indicating “that sitting increases your risk of death and disease, even if you are getting plenty of physical activity. It’s a bit like smoking. Smoking is bad for you even if you get lots of exercise. So is sitting too much.” says Travis Saunders, a Ph.D. student and certified exercise physiologist at the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Researchers have reported that sitting for long hours is linked to:
- Worse mental health
- A higher risk of death from heart disease and other causes
- A higher risk of being disabled
While the research is still emerging, it is difficult to assess exactly how much sitting is too much sitting. What we do know is that breaking up intervals of sitting with frequent instances of standing or other forms of exercise does help mitigate some of the potential issues associated with prolonged instances of sitting. Simply standing up for a few minutes, a few push ups in the break room, or even a walk around the block can help combat excessive sitting. The difficulty in making sure one is standing often enough is less about preforming that action, but remembering to do it.
Here’s a couple ways to help remind you to stand often enough.
-Find an App. If you have a smartphone there are plenty of apps that will remind you to stand up every hour. You’ll receive a notification letting you know that you should stand up, and with some apps you’ll be given a timer to let you know how long you stand up.
-Get a fitness tracker. There are many fitness trackers available for consumers these days. These functional and stylish fitness trackers will let you know how much activity you need each day, can set reminders for you to stand, and can measure your hourly activity to keep you on track.
-Mark it in your calendar. Try to block out five minutes of each hour for standing. If you are working, find a co-worker to join you to keep each other on track.
-Get a standing desk. You’ll never have to remember because you’ll always be standing!
If you are experiencing physical discomfort from sitting too much, or want help in designing a lifestyle that incorporates less sitting, talk to OSC today!