More than half of Americans spend half of their waking hours sitting each day; people over age 60 are sedentary 8.6 to 9.6 hours each day.
It’s easy to rack up the time you spend sitting. Just consider the time spent at your desk, in front of the TV, sitting at a meal, or driving.
Research has found that regular exercise, while beneficial, does not compensate for the negative effects of excessive sitting. However, there are some things you can do to combat the ill effects of prolonged sitting; these include:
- standing and moving around for a few minutes every 30 minutes during times that you’re sitting for long stretches
- standing and walking around while talking on the phone (One of the benefits of this is that you’ll burn more calories than if you’re sitting.)
- doing several short sessions of high-intensity exercises during the day. The benefits of this were shown in a study done by the University of Texas at Austin. The researchers found that the if you pedaled a bike or sprinted as aggressively as possible for four seconds, rested for 45 seconds, again pedaled or sprinted for four seconds, and repeated this sequence of short sessions once an hour for eight hours it would undo some of the effects of prolonged periods of sitting and have greater value than long workouts at the gym several times a week.
- taking a walk with a friend while you have a coffee and catch up
- using a special standing desk or one with a treadmill if you need to be at a desk for hours
Basically, get off your butt and move as much and as frequently as you can.