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Stand Up and Stay Alive Longer

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Stand Up and Stay Alive Longer

Sitting Knocks Years Off Your Life

You’re sitting down, aren’t you? Do your thighs feel all squished up? Is your lower back cramping? Does your bum feel numb? There’s a reason you’re uncomfortable. It’s your body’s way of telling you that the longer you sit, the shorter ~ and less healthy ~ your life will be.

Yup, SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING. Bodies are built to move. And when they just sit there, they protest with everything from back pain, cancer, and heart disease, to diabetes, depression, and a shortened lifespan.

Sitting also makes people fat because bodies need to stand to metabolize. Why? The muscles that hold you upright – mostly in your legs – release fat-burning enzymes stored in their blood vessels when you’re standing. If you spend a lot of time sitting, the fat just sits in your arteries.

And exercise doesn’t counteract the negative effects of sitting around. Just as smoking is bad for us even if we get plenty of exercise, sitting is the same.

It turns out that the biochemical reactions activated by exercising are totally different from those slowed down by sitting. Add to this the fact that people who exercise regularly sometimes make little effort to keep moving outside of their workout schedules, and you’ve got a recipe for, well, for being fat and unhealthy.

The trick is to kick the sitting habit. Or at least incorporate a lot more standing into your life. Here are some ideas:

  • Take lots of 1-minute standing breaks throughout the day.
  • When you’re sitting, change positions frequently.
  • Stand whenever possible, while talking on the phone, eating, or when visiting with friends.
  • Consider ways to stand while at work…hold walking meetings with colleagues rather than sitting in a conference room.
  • Switch to a standing desk — test run the idea first by using a high table or countertop for a few months.
  • Position your workstation above a treadmill. There are actually companies that sell standing desks with treadmills attached.

Some people ask me, “why would anyone want to work standing up?” To that I say, “why not work standing up? How did we get into this habit of sitting down all day?

Besides, the less we sit, the longer we’ll be alive to think of new ways to keeping moving.