This will motivate you to get your butt off that chair.
What is sitting disease, exactly? If you’ve ever spent a whole workday so plugged in to your projects and meetings that you barely moved for nine hours straight, then you might be a sitting disease victim.
The overly sedentary lifestyle associated with sitting disease is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and other health issues.
And hitting the gym every couple of days may not be the antidote you think it is. Studies show that long stretches of sitting throughout the day may be so devastating to your body that exercising for 30 minutes here and there cannot negate the risks of health complications.
If your job requires extended periods of sitting, the easiest solution to avoid succumbing to sitting disease is to set a timer on your watch, phone, or computer to get up and move around every half hour. Using a fitness tracker can also remind you to take enough steps throughout your day.
Internist Paul Knoepfelmacher, MD, recommends one to three minutes of activity for every half hour you’re glued to your chair in order to give your body an adequate break from sitting. You could walk around the office, get some fresh air outside, or even do some simple stretches or jumping jacks.
Another common fix is to switch to a stand-up desk, which allows you to stand at your workstation while comfortably using your computer. (Pro tip: Some employers will pay for this if you request it, so don’t be shy!)
If you’re really lucky, you may even have or be able to request treadmill desks at your office. This is exactly what it sounds like: the user walks on a treadmill while using their computer, which is safely docked and positioned at a comfortable height.
So keep your workout schedule, but add in a little activity in the office, too. You might even find it helps you avoid that afternoon slump.
Dr. Knoepflmacher is a clinical instructor of medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, where he also maintains a private practice.
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Do you sit at your desk all day and
want some tips on how to get moving?
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We called Dr. Paul to find out more.
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Hi, Dr. Paul.
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There was a study in the Annals of
Internal Medicine recently that found that
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even people who exercise regularly,
if they have a sedentary lifestyle,
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their risk of heart disease,
for instance, is still high.
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The exercise doesn't negate
the negative effect of sitting.
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Is there a maximum time that
you should be sitting at one time
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that you would recommend
to make sure you get up?
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If you're sitting for more than a half
hour, you should try and get up and
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move at least one to three
minutes every half hour.
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A lot of these smart phones and
watches and so on will now buzz you and
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remind you that you need to get up
if you've been sitting for too long.
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Why is sitting so bad for you?
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It turns out that sitting is a major
risk factor for many different diseases,
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heart disease, cancer, diabetes.
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Our bodies were meant to move.
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It's very unnatural to just be
sitting idle for hours and hours.
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And it turns out that the effects
of sitting affect your whole body,
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from your brain to your heart,
your metabolism, your muscles, your bones.
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And it happens in relatively quick time.
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Do you have any recommendations for
keeping people moving?
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One recommendation suggested is
perhaps if you move one to three
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minutes every 30 minutes for
sitting, that would be helpful.
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But I think either set reminders on your
clock or get a smartphone or something, or
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a watch that reminds you.
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And what about when you're traveling?
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Is there anything when
you're on a long flight,
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is after a certain time limit there that
you should make sure to get up and move?
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Same idea, and I think that's even
more important on an airplane flight,
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because there you're sitting,
you're not moving your muscles,
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your blood is stagnant in your legs, so
there's increased risk of blood clots.
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And you're also dehydrated from the effect
of the dry air, and possibly even alcohol.
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So, it's even more crucial to get up and
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even just do exercises with your calf.
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Calf raises, move your feet around,
even if you have to stay still,
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because that's a real serious problem.
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Thank you for your time.
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