Why Sitting Is the New Smoking and How to Avoid It

Most of us sit in our drab cubicles for at least six hours a day, getting little if any exercise at all.

Research is now showing that sitting for prolonged periods of time can be worse for you than smoking.

Even if you hit the gym or jog every day, it is usually not enough to make up for the damage you are inflicting on your body every day by sitting for that long staring at an artificial computer screen.

In fact, we now know that sitting for prolonged periods of time raises your risk of getting cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

A German study shows that for every two hours you spend sitting in front of a computer, the average person can raise their risk of colon cancer by as much as 8 percent, and endometrial cancer by as much as 10 percent.

The primary finding from our meta-analysis is that prolonged TV viewing and time spent in other sedentary pursuits are associated with increased risks of colon and endometrial cancer.

Daniela Schmid and Dr. Michael Leitzmann of the University of Regensburg in Germany wrote in their report, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

But it’s not all bad news, there are several steps you can take to at the very least minimize some of the damage that our office jobs are inflicting upon our health.

Get Up at Least Once Every Hour and Walk Around

It is easy to get caught up in your work and forget to get up and walk around for the entire day.

Set a timer and get up and walk around every hour or so. Even if it’s just to go down the hall and chat with a coworker.

Getting up, stretching out your legs and moving around will help increase blood flow and keep your body from getting stiff by sitting down all day long. Make this a habit that you do every day.

Workout at Your Desk

You can buy a mini stationary bike to put under your desk for relatively cheap at your local Wal-Mart or at Amazon.

You don’t have to pedal all day long, but if you pedal at a low resistance for 30 minutes here and there it will help counteract the damage you’re doing by sitting and being sedentary all day long.

It is an easy thing to do and won’t be much of a hassle, you will be surprised at how easy it is to make it a habit when it’s just sitting under your desk all day.

Sit on a Stationary Ball

This can get you some funny looks around the office, but sitting on a big stationary ball can be a great way to keep your back in the proper position. This help release tension in your back and joints and strengthen your core muscle groups without even realizing you’re doing it.

Walk During Your Lunchtime

Most people go get fast food and sit down for an hour during their lunch breaks. Try to grab something on the go and get into a routine with a few coworkers.

Have a chat and go walk a few blocks during your lunch hour. This will help settle your lunch and get the blood pumping.

You will be surprised at how easy this is if you have good company to talk to or a nice audiobook to listen to while you’re on a walk. Like with anything else, consistency is the key here so make it a daily habit.

Get a Standing Desk

More and more employers are recognizing the damage that sitting down all day can cause to our bodies.

You might be surprised to learn that many employers are more than willing to accommodate staff members by providing a standing desk.

It may seem like it would be annoying, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to adjust to a standing desk.

Yes, it will be weird for a while, but after a few weeks you will grow to love your standing desk, and your body will thank you for it.

No more stiff back and aching sore joints. Your heart will work better, your blood pressure will stay stable and you will be able to stay focused throughout the day.

Take the Stairs Every Few Hours

Along with taking a break and walking around every hour or so, try to go up and down the stairs a few times each day.

If you normally take the elevator every day, skip that and take the stairs. Nothing gets your heart pumping like taking a few flights of stairs to get to the office.

Every little bit helps and making small changes to your daily routine like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a real difference when it comes to your overall health.

Make sure the steps are small enough that they don’t become too hard to complete consistently, and you can build on them from there.

Remember, small steps to big success. So take those stairs tomorrow and your body will thank you for it.

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