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Health and Fitness

You’re exercising for nothing if you also do this

by Laurence-Emmanuelle Bédard Published on September 7, 2015

If you, like so many women, go to the gym, practice yoga or do CrossFit to stay in shape, here’s a shocker: all that effort may be in vein if you spend much of your day sitting!

Why? Put simply, the human body wasn’t built for sitting; it was built for moving. Unfortunately, many of us spend up to 12 hours a day sitting at our computers – a modern-day habit that is wreaking havoc on our bodies. One British study even concluded that spending less time sitting generates more health benefits than spending more time exercising.

Indeed, health experts have become increasingly concerned about all the time we spend sitting. The latest studies indicate that the more time we spend sitting – even if we exercise – the more likely we are to develop cancer, diabetes or heart disease or to die prematurely.

Researchers have looked into various approaches that could reduce the amount of time we spend sitting. Some, such as using workstations that allow people to stand, seem promising. Other options include using “alerts” to remind us that it’s time to get up, setting personal goals, or recording the amount of time we spend sitting.

To reduce your own sitting time, you can:

  • Get up at regular intervals to stretch your legs and walk a little;
  • Take a 5-minute walk every hour;
  • Remain standing while using public transportation;
  • Use a bike to get to work and come home;
  • Park your car 15-20 minutes away from the office to get more walking in;
  • Stretch your legs below or above your desk (as discretely as you can!);
  • Go see your colleagues instead of emailing them;
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevators to get more exercise in;
  • Make your workstation as ergonomic as possible (chair, desk, computer screen, workbench) so you can change positions more often.

by Laurence-Emmanuelle Bédard

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