We need to move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Here are 22 tips to get you started sitting less and moving more. Check those you could do — you may be surprised how easy it is to add more activity to your day.
- Take a 1 to 3 minute break every half hour or so during the day to stand and move around. You could fit this in with some of the activities cited below. For example, taking the stairs, walking during a break or noon time, etc.
- Pace during phone calls.
- Walk over to your colleagues' desk to talk versus emailing, instant messaging or calling them. Stand once you get there.
- Schedule a regular 5 to 10 minute physical activity break into your day, such as 10 minutes of activity at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.
- Drink more water — it is good for your body and you will walk more going to the restroom. Use the bathroom farthest from you.
- Have standing meetings. An added benefit is standing meetings are usually shorter and more to the point.
- Use a fitness tracker that counts your steps or miles.
- Set a timer to remind you to get up and move. Some wearable fitness trackers remind you when to move.
- Use a wearable fitness tracker or smartphone app that lets you form a group with friends on your device (tablet, computer, smartphone). The motivation of others moving may motivate you also.
- Participate in physical activities with your children, such as bike rides, playing catch, and walking the dog together.
- Walk up and down the soccer or football field while your child is playing.
- Change channels on the TV manually. Get up and move during commercial breaks on television. Stand up part of the time while watching TV.
- Park your car farther from your destination.
- Use the stairs.
- Cook more of your meals — you'll move more than getting your meal at a drive-through restaurant or sitting in a restaurant. Plus, you may save money and eat healthier.
- Tidy up your house more often. Vacuum more and keep your carpet cleaner. Mop that kitchen floor before your feet start sticking to it. Scrub down your bathroom — clean floorboards, wash windows, remove grime that sticks around faucet joints.
- Pack a sack lunch and save some time during your lunch break for a walk.
- Use a jogging stroller and jog with your child or any type of stroller or wagon to go on a walk with your child.
- Sit on an exercise ball and fidget while you work.
- Walk down every aisle at the grocery store whether you need to or not.
- Wear comfortable shoes that encourage walking.
- Form a work group for walking — maybe a stroll to the library over lunch break.
There are even more benefits to sitting less and doing moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activity. Moderate physical activity is anything that gets your heart beating faster such as brisk walking or riding a bike. Try to get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. If you are short on time, step it up to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running and aim for at least 75 minutes a week.
Physical Activity Basics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans - 2nd Edition, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
This article was originally written by Alice Henneman. It was reviewed and updated in 2022.