Sitting is the new smoking, or so many public health experts claim. People who sit all day are prone to obesity, heart disease, and other health risks.
However, a lot of people can’t help but sit all day because of their work. Those who work in offices, those who operate heavy equipment in construction sites, and those manning cashiers in retail stores spend hours on end seated. So, what can these people do to stay healthy while seated for most of the day?
Take Standing Breaks Whenever Possible
The best way to reduce the health risks associated with sitting is to take standing breaks whenever possible. Get up and walk around for a minute or two every hour or so.
It doesn’t have to be a full-on workout. You can stand up and refill your water bottle, chat with a co-worker, or just take a quick walk to the bathroom and back. When you have to take a phone call, do so while standing up and walking around. If possible, ask that your meeting be held outside while you’re walking in a public park or the office garden. These short breaks will help get your blood flowing and reduce the health risks associated with sitting all day.
Stretch in Place
Another way to reduce the health risks associated with sitting all day is to stretch in place. When you feel the urge to move, don’t get up and walk around. Instead, take a couple of minutes to stretch your muscles.
There are lots of great stretches you can do right at your desk. You can do some simple neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, and wrist circles. You can also do a seated hamstring stretch, a calf stretch, and a quadriceps stretch. There are tutorials all over the internet that you can follow to help you with these stretches.
Drink Plenty of Water
Another key to staying healthy while seated is to drink plenty of water. When you’re seated all day, your body becomes dehydrated more quickly, so it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. Sodas and other sugary drinks should be avoided, as they can contribute to weight gain and other health problems.
Try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. To make it easier, always bring a water bottle with you. If you don’t like the taste of water, you can always add a squeeze of lemon. You can also add cucumber, berries, and herbs into your water, let soak for several hours, for a nice and refreshing flavor.
Eat Healthy Foods
It’s also important to eat healthy foods when you’re seated all day. The best foods for those who sit all day are ones that are high in fiber and protein.
Fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help keep you feeling full throughout the day. Protein-rich foods like meat, eggs, and dairy products will help keep your energy levels up.
Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar, as they can contribute to weight gain and other health problems. Instead, try to eat a balanced diet of healthy foods.
Exercise Before and After Work
Finally, the best way to reduce the health risks associated with sitting all day is to exercise before and after work. Exercise helps improve your overall health and reduces the risk of developing health problems like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
If you can’t fit in a full workout before or after work, try to at least do some stretching exercises. Stretching exercises are a great way to loosen up your muscles and get your blood flowing.
You should also consider taking a bicycle or walking to and from work. If that’s not possible, try parking a few blocks away from your office so you have to walk a little bit. These simple exercises will help reduce the health risks associated with sitting all day.
If all else fails, you can always take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
Staying healthy requires commitment. At work, you may not have total control of how you spend your time, but it’s still possible to remain fit. If you follow these tips, you are less likely to suffer from the numerous health consequences that come from sitting all day, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. And remember, these tips are not just for people who sit at a desk all day. They can be applied to anyone who spends long periods of time seated, such as those who drive for hours each day or attend long lectures. So whatever your situation, make an effort to stay healthy by following these simple tips.