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sitting at desk

Today, fewer than 20% of all jobs in the U.S. require some sort of activity, according to recent research. That means the majority of jobs in this country generally involve sitting for extended periods of time at a desk in front of a computer, or standing on your feet in a concentrated location. Add in commuting time, resting on the sofa in front of the TV or reading a book while lying in bed and a sedentary lifestyle carries over from work to home. The American Heart Association suggests that all of this sitting can be unhealthy – even for those who regularly exercise – and can cause heart disease and even diabetes. If your job requires little activity throughout the day, here are 5 ways you can you can help reduce sitting time.

Set a reminder on your calendar.

You might think you shouldn’t have to remind yourself to get up and take a break, but if you’re heavily focused on a project, forgetting to stop what you’re doing is easy to do. Set yourself a reminder a few times throughout the day – on your desktop or smartphone – so an alarm or notification will alert you to get up, stretch, and take a walk.

Exercise at your desk.

Treadmill desks are popular because they allow you to keep moving while you’re working, but they can also be cost-prohibitive and difficult to incorporate into a crowded work environment. Sitting on a stability ball instead of a chair lets you engage your core muscles so you don’t fall over. Standing desks are another way to address sitting-related issues but it’s important to still be active rather than simply standing for periods of time.

Run up and down the stairs.

If you work in a multi-story office building, take advantage of the stair wells. A couple of times a day run or walk briskly up and down the stairs to get some cardio in. And take the stairs instead of the elevator as well.

Walk the dog.

For those who telecommute or work at home for yourselves, if you have a dog, it’s a great way to get you up and away from the computer for 25 or 30 minutes twice a day. Not to mention you get the added bonus of some fresh air from a morning or evening stroll.

Bike or walk to work.

If you’re fortunate enough to live in close proximity to your place of employment, bike or walk when weather permits. And, with your bike already at work, you can also take a quick spin around a block or two a few times throughout the day to beat the effects of sitting.

Once you get home from work, continue to be active. Researchers at the American Heart Association suggest at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise that can include walking briskly, riding a bike, cardio exercise, running and jogging, just to name a few.

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