Don’t Stand for Sedentary

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How much of the day do you spend sitting before 6 p.m.? If you’re an average American, then it’s probably about 5 hours and 47 minutes.

Today, with the growing popularity in fitness and activity trackers, it’s likely that you, or someone you know, is wearing one. Fitbit, one of the more recognizable names in the fitness tracker industry, recently released a collection of anonymous activity data from the over one million Fitbit users in 2015. From that data, they found that not only are Americans the most sedentary (compared to other countries housing Fitbit users) but, on average, some Fitbit users would be sedentary for up to 90 minutes at a time, with sedentary slumps after meals. Sedentary activities could include, riding in a car, working at a desk, or lounging and watching TV at night.

But why does this matter? Although this information is specific to Fitbit users and most likely does not completely represent the entire American population, the data still shows some alarming details. Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to some serious, negative impacts to your health. Studies show that even if you exercise, sitting for extended periods of time could increase your risk for heart disease, colon cancer, and diabetes. The Surgeon General recommends taking 10,000 steps a day for optimal activity and decreased risk of these diseases, and it may benefit you to get these periodically throughout the day rather than all at once. Start by walking for at least 2 minutes every hour, or 250 steps.

With the always increasing amount of sedentary jobs and technological advances, it’s easier than you think to get caught up in sedentary behaviors and harder to break those habits. Try these tips to incorporate more activity in your workday:

  • Track it! You don’t have to go out and buy a high-tech activity tracker, but you may decide that buying a simple pedometer may help you become more aware of your daily activity and help you set goals for improvement.
  • Drink up! Use a smaller water bottle so you’ll have to get up and refill it more.
  • Drop in! Instead of sending an email, stop by your coworker’s office to get a quick answer.
  • Take a hike! Go to the bathroom that’s farther away. Even try to incorporate stairs, if possible.
  • Time can get away from you! Set an alarm every hour to remind you to get up and move.
  • Team up! Make an agreement with a co-worker to take a small walk together each hour and hold each other accountable.