Not something to be taken sitting down, many of us spend a great deal of the day seated. As the hours of the day move forward we can begin to experience discomfort in our back, shoulder, neck, backside, and legs. Sitting for long periods of time does not support our heart health, maintaining a healthy weight, or optimal energy and concentration levels. When we go home, there might be more sitting at the personal computer, playing video games, or watching television.

According to we sit on average seven and a half hours at work, one and a half hours watching television, one and a half hours of leisure, one and a half hours personal computer, and one-hour eating. In total, this equates 13 hours of sedentary time per workday with usually only three hours of moving. That’s a lot of sitting! Standing for long periods of time at a standing desk is not necessarily the answer either. The body responds better to variable body movement throughout the day. 

Achieving variable movement

A recent study showed two minutes of activity every hour lowered the risk of premature death by 33 percent. Cornell University Ergonomics Lab suggests standing up and moving every 20 minutes. Standing up throughout the day facilitates the large leg and back muscles to contract, triggering enzymes to eat away at the fat residing in the bloodstream. Regular movement can also help reduce the risk of discomfort, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer that have been linked to prolonged sitting. Moving can also help you in your work. A study by New Balance found getting up every 30 minutes to move increased employee engagement, efficiency, and energy. That’s a triple winner for avoiding the afternoon slumps! Keep in mind, even if you workout multiple days a week, sitting idle for too long during any day can create challenges for the body. The goal is breaking up the hours of ongoing sitting on a daily basis to increase your physical and emotional well-being. Below are some resources to get you started in breaking up those hours of sitting with more moving and stretching.

Stretching at your desk

Consider setting a reminder on your phone or computer to help you remember to move. Once you get into the habit, you will likely not need the timer. This video featuring Health Promotion and Wellness intern Zak Kaesburg shows an easy stretching routine you can do without leaving your workspace.

Additional exercises

Additional resources from Health Promotion and Wellness