Do you exercise regularly? Are you a nonsmoker?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, that’s awesome – kudos to you.
But even those healthy habits won’t save you from the early death that a new study says is the result of sitting down for more than three hours a day.
The Wall Street Journal reported recently that the online journal BMJ Open published a study that makes the frightening claim. And if that’s not bad enough, the study goes on to say that watching TV more than two hours a day will shave another 1.4 years off your life.
Yeesh! We all know that being a couch potato isn’t good for you, but who knew it could kill you?
In addition, people who have sedentary jobs – that is, those who sit at a desk most of the day without exerting much energy – are at a higher risk for colon and rectal cancers than those whose jobs require movement and activity.
Uh huh – the bad news just got worse.
There is a glimmer of hope, however. Unless someone is chaining you to your chair, you have the ability to get up and move around periodically – preferably every three hours or less if you want to live longer.
So, to help you lengthen your life expectancy – at least in the context of this new study – here are 15 ways you can get active during the workday.
1. Stand up when talking on the phone
Make it your new habit to get up whenever you make or receive a phone call.
2. Take a shower mid-morning or early afternoon
Instead of showering as soon as you get up, wait until after you’ve spent a couple hours working.
3. Go for a walk around the neighborhood
Enjoy the sights and sounds of your neighborhood by going on a 15-minute walk.
4. Run errands
Complete to-do list tasks by walking or driving to your destinations midday.
5. Do more chores
Think of something around the house you can clean or tidy up. Maybe there’s a load of laundry you can wash or fold. Perhaps you can take out the trash. Whatever it is, get your butt up and do it.
6. Make lunch
Get out of your seat to make lunch in your kitchen.
7. Go out to lunch
Don’t feel like raiding your fridge for lunch today? That’s OK. Head to your favorite lunch joint and have a meal there.
8. Ride a bike
If you have a bike, do a few laps around the block to stay active and healthy.
9. Get the mail
Even a trip to the mailbox is a relevant activity to help you move around more during the day.
10. Visit a neighbor
Have a glass of coffee or tea with a neighbor who works from home.
11. Climb the stairs
Go up and down a flight of stairs a few times to get the blood pumping.
12. Walk the dogs
If you have dogs, take them for a walk instead of just letting them out the back door.
Don’t hesitate to implement these strategies meant to get you out of your chair and away from your work area more often. Start them today to potentially prevent cardiovascular problems and certain cancers in the future. If you think you’ll have trouble remembering to get up, think about setting a timer for every three hours. When it dings, it means it’s time to start moving. Good luck!