Americans Are Sitting More Than Ever—Here’s What To Do If You Have A Desk Job

We’ve heard that “sitting is the new smoking” and now, more than ever, Americans spend more time during their day sitting. From the way we do our work — in front of computers, for eight hours a day — to how we spend our leisure time — in front of the television for our Netflix and chill date — we’re spending more minutes and hours sitting rather than standing or even moving.

Throughout the last decade, the amount of time Americans has spent sitting has increased by nearly one whole hour. According to a new study, published in JAMA, shows that teenagers sit for about eight hours per day, while adults sit for nearly six-and-a-half.

And for the most part, the study notes, it’s all because of our computer use. That means those hours we’re working, when we’re at our desk for hours on end, are the most significant ones. With sitting linked to cardiovascular disease — and with that, bad circulation — as well as weaker muscles and weight gain, doing whatever we can to limit, or at least minimize, its effects is paramount.

Here’s what you can do to get more movement in your day:

1. Opt for that standing desk

If your boss is willing to spring for a standing desk, take advantage. Taking 30 minutes standing, followed by 30 minutes sitting will be enough to not only break up your day, but will help you get more movement, improved circulation, and can improve your posture, just in half-hour chunks.

counteract the effects of sitting

Image: iStock

2. Take walking meetings

Don’t move from your desk chair to a meeting room chair. That’s not enough. If it’s manageable, take your meetings en route to a coffee shop, or walk around the office floor.

3. Stand while taking phone calls or answering messages

Anytime you call into a conference call, take a stand, literally. Get up from your chair, walk around, or simply stand to chat.

4. Set alerts

Take advantage of your Fitbit or Apple Watch “stand” alerts and actually, yes, stand. Every time the alerts go off ( by default, they’re hourly) stand, walk to the restroom, refill your water bottle, or chat with a coworker.

Just a few small moves could make the difference and cut down on your sitting time. Your heart will thank you.

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