According to the World Health Organization, one in four adults worldwide aren’t moving enough. Thanks in part to our increasing number of sedentary jobs and reliance on technology, many of us spend most of our days sitting down. In fact, the American Heart Association found that sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950. Not surprisingly, that’s resulted in more people sitting for longer periods of time. The average American spends nearly 10 hours a day sitting down.
That’s startling news, considering the serious effects of physical inactivity. Lack of physical activity has been linked to a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, and more. If that weren’t enough, WHO reports that approximately 2 million deaths every year can be attributed to physical inactivity, which prompted the organization to warn that a sedentary lifestyle may be among the top 10 leading causes of death and disability worldwide.
Ultimately, the way to combat a sedentary lifestyle is to get moving. Even if you work out on a regular basis, sitting for hours on end can still be dangerous to your health. Research shows that women who sit for more than six hours per day, regardless of their fitness level, have a 40% higher risk of dying from any cause than women who sit for fewer than three hours per day. The combination of regular exercise and frequent movement (even while at work) can do wonders for your health and longevity.
Experts recommend that you stand up from your desk at least every 20 minutes to move around and take a break. You might also consider taking the stairs, parking your car further away from your office’s front entrance, getting a sit-stand desk, or wearing a fitness tracker to encourage you to increase your daily steps. Outside of work, you should make it a point to take regular walks, do more chores around the house, and use your home fitness equipment on a regular basis to combat the negative effects of “sitting disease.”
If you know your physical activity is lacking, it can be tough to break your sedentary habits. But reducing the time you spend sitting down while making small gains in your fitness level can be a literal life-saver. Because the average American’s job structure isn’t likely to become more active any time soon, it’s up to each individual to ensure they’re taking care of their body -- both in and out of the office.