UNC Health Talk

Wellness Wednesday: Quitting Sitting May Help Your Health

Do you spend most your day sitting, whether it’s at a desk, behind the wheel, on the couch … or all of the above? Even if you’re making the right moves for your health in other ways, you could be sabotaging your health just by sitting.

The odds of diabetes, heart disease and cancer go up when you’re sitting down for long periods, even if you maintain a healthy weight and don’t smoke. Research suggests that even those who get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise are at risk from long hours spent sitting down.*

The key is to break up long periods of sitting by moving your body at more frequent intervals throughout the day.

Stand up for your health – Try these tips to get up and move more:

  • Get up for a glass of water every couple of hours.
  • Watching TV? Stand up (or dance around!) during commercial breaks.
  • Set reminders to take a lap around your office building or neighborhood. Start your own walking group!
  • Desk job? Try sitting on an exercise ball to engage your core muscles, or consider a standing desk or treadmill desk.
  • Make a date for an after-dinner walk.
  • Go high tech! Try on a wearable health tracker, pedometer or fitness app to measure your steps.
  • Play active (motion-controlled) video games instead of passive (hand-controlled) games, or better yet, play tag or football outside.

* American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Sciences Reviews, ‘Science of Sedentary Behavior,’ July 2010.