In the wake of COVID-19, people are spending more time sitting and less time moving, especially if your work involves technology and has moved away from face-to-face interaction. With employees working remotely, more than half report sitting three hours longer during the day than they did in the office. This is because of missing those natural bursts of movement in the workplace, like walking to a meeting or getting up to ask a co-worker down the hall a question. In addition to sitting more during the workday, people are using at-home delivery services or curbside pickup, instead of walking around a store to run errands. We now sit in nearly every aspect of our lives from working, to running errands, to leisure screen time with video games or Netflix.
All this sitting and lack of movement is unhealthy, increasing the risk of health concerns. These risks include obesity, back and neck pain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep vein thrombosis, Alzheimer’s, dementia, anxiety, depression, and early mortality. Even if you exercise regularly, you’re still at risk for all of these concerns if you spend too much time sitting.
To prevent all of these problems, experts recommend breaking up long periods of sitting by getting up every 20 to 30 minutes and performing a “movement snack.” According to the CDC, adults who sit less and do any amount of physical activity will gain some health benefits. For substantial health benefits, 150 minutes of activity every week is recommended. For example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of brisk walking. Nevertheless, any activity is better than none.
We know that sitting is inevitable! So here are some tips to help you move more and sit less.
Tips to sit less
· Set a timer. Get up every hour, or even every 20 to 30 minutes if you can and move. Stand, walk, or stretch.
· Take a stand. If you’re able, use a standing desk or a countertop for your workspace. Standing desks have been proven to increase brain function, creativity, and productivity.
· Walk and talk. When possible, turn phone calls into walking opportunities. You can go outside or even just stroll down your hallway at home.
· Sit in “active” positions. Consider getting an inflatable ball for sitting at your desk. During leisure time, mix it up and sit on the floor.
· Move more. Commit to moving your body every single day. Go for a walk around the block during lunch. Remember, every minute of physical activity counts!
If you read this while sitting, get up and move. Your body and mind will thank you! Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.