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Long hours at a desk, in a car or on a cozy couch are an enemy of your metabolism, muscles and life span. Numerous studies have shown that even if you work out, sitting can put you at greater risk of developing diabetes, dying of heart disease or cancer. In a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine, co-author David Alter, MD notes that “we haven’t cracked the formula for how much light activity versus more traditional exercise we should do but taking the ‘move more’ mentality seriously is a great place to start.”  So this month, we thought we would help everyone focus on spending more time on your feet and less time sitting by giving you some action steps you can take throughout the month to better health.

  1. Count your steps: use an app on your smart phone or a pedometer.  There are all kinds of options for keeping track of your steps.  The recommended steps is 10,000 per day but whatever your personal best is focus on adding 1000 more steps each day.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes to work: if your feet are comfortable, you will be more likely to stand or walk around.
  3. Set a reminder: it’s easy to lose track of time when on our computers or involved in work projects, reading, etc. Program your phone or computer to remind you to get up every 30 minutes and walk around or stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Switch to a standing desk: I switched to a standing desk last year and love it.  While there are some things I have to do sitting I have found that I’m more likely to move and be less tired when standing.  To do it on your own, check out health.com/desks.
  5. Find Excuses to Move: find out what your sitting traps are and create reminders to move around vs. sitting.  For ex. park farther away when you go to the store; move your printer off your desk so you have to get up; walk around when talking on the phone vs. sitting still; walk around when going to a child’s sporting event (i.e. walk around the ball field, gym, swimming pool, etc.).
  6. Leave the TV remote across the room.  At least you will have to get up to change the channels or better yet, mute it during commercials and do some type of movement (push-ups, sit-ups, walking around the house, laundry, etc.)
  7. Increase the intensity: include real exercise with your smaller movement activities. Walk up the stairs (you use 3x the amount of energy as going down the stairs); get in a workout during lunch or schedule a walk, jog or ride a bike with a friend.  Find an activity that increases your heart rate enough that you are winded when you talk.

We hope that by adding some of these small actions into your daily activity you will be sitting less and moving more.

HEALTH, 3/18