Even if you routinely do moderate or intense exercise, sitting for long periods of time is hazardous for your health. However, taking short breaks to move around, for as little as a minute, can do you a lot of good.
Researchers in Australia analyzed data from more than 4,700 American adults and found that waists of people who took the most breaks from sitting were, on average, just over 1.5 inches smaller than waists of people who sat for the longest periods of time. And there were other differences.
In the study, published in the European Heart Journal, blood tests showed that sitting for long periods also increased chronic internal inflammation, unhealthy cholesterol levels and other markers of risk for heart disease, blocked arteries, and diabetes.
“Even small changes, which could be as little as standing up for one minute, might help to lower this health risk,” says lead researcher Genevieve Healy, Ph.D. Overall, she estimates that sitting for one to two hours less per day can significantly improve the health of your heart.
These are some simple ways to sit less and move more:
1. Getting up and doing a few stretches while watching television
2. Doing simple chores more frequently instead of letting them pile up
3. Walking to the store instead of driving
4. Parking in one place and walking to several stores instead of driving to each one
5. Parking at the far end of any parking lot
6. Getting up more often to put things away instead of letting them pile up on a desk or table
7. Walking down the hall at the office to talk to someone instead of using the phone or messaging
8. Organizing a closet or cupboard
9. Dusting more often
10. Shoveling snow or gardening more often
11. Cleaning out the garage or attic a little at a time instead of making it an annual project
12. Taking out the trash more often
13. Walking to a restaurant instead of driving, before or after a movie
14. Getting your own snack or drink instead of asking someone else to get it
15. Walking around while talking on the phone
16. Taking stairs, whenever possible, instead of elevators or escalators
17. Fixing more things around the house
If you use extra activity to do the things you tend to put off, you might also give yourself a new and improved outlook on life.