How often do you sit during the day? Think about it. 5 hours? 10 hours? 15 hours?
We are a very sedentary society. We spend our time sitting in chairs, on the couch, in cars, at our desks. In fact, the average American spends 50-70% of their day sitting. That’s up to 16 hours a day…sitting.
I consider myself a healthy person. I love eating healthy and going for hikes outdoors. I exercise regularly. Yet, I noticed that during an average day, I can be very sedentary.
I wake up and get my son ready for school. I sit by him as he eats breakfast talking about 3 year old things. I sit in the car as I drive him to daycare and then to work. I sit at my desk or in the conference room for the majority of my work day. Then I come home, make dinner, and sit some more as I watch and play with my son. I may go to ‘workout’ for an hour but the rest of the day is fairly sedentary.
What I found is the more I sit…the more I sit. The more sedentary we are, the harder it is to get up and move. Sitting begets more sitting.
Effects of Sitting All Day
It is pretty crazy how harmful sitting can be. Our bodies are not made to sit for long periods of time and we experience the ill effects of sitting on a pretty serious level. Every year, we are getting sicker and sicker as a society. Our lack of movement is one of the factors.
Sitting all day can lead to a variety of problems including:
- Weight gain
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Loss of bone density
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Weaker back muscles
- Pain in other parts of the body as other structures take the brunt of the work that the back muscles should be doing
- Increased back pain
- Increased risk of blood clots in legs
- Increased risk of metabolic syndrome
- Increased risk of becoming insulin resistant
- Raised lipid levels
- Reduced metabolism
- Toxic build up since the lymph system won’t work as effectively to remove toxins
- Poor performance of our organs since they are not stimulated by our muscles during movement
- Increase of learning disabilities and decrease in potential to learn since the cerebellum is not being stimulated by movement
- Increase in certain cancers
- Increase in death from all causes
So, yeah, the effects of sitting all day are pretty scary.
Solutions to the Effects of Sitting All Day
So, what can we do about all of this? Of course, we could go on more walks, hit the gym and be less sedentary. But sometimes, our lives can make that difficult. Long commutes and desk jobs can force one to sit for a long time.
Here are some tips I have learned and am excited to share with you! Most of them can be implemented by anyone.
- Get a pedometer (I use a FitBit) to see just how little walking you do!
- Set a timer every hour on your phone and get up, walk around, do a few squats, jumping jacks, whatever.
- Park at the farthest spot of the parking lot and walk to the store.
- Get a treadmill desk, a standing desk or sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair.
- Walk on your lunch break or after dinner.
- Walk in place when standing in line or waiting. (It might look funny, but who cares!)
- Take the stairs whenever possible.
- Get regular exercise each day, including strength training.
- Do a quick workout each day. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym! A 15 minute workout can be fit into almost any schedule at home or in the office!
- Watching tv? Walk in place. Do some squats or crunches. Try walking lunges across your living room.
What about you? How much sitting do you do? Do you have any other tips to keep moving? Would love to hear them in the comments!