OK, it’s a big claim. But there’s evidence that the New Year’s resolution we’re about to reveal really could change your life for the better.
You won’t need a gym membership, you won’t need tight Lycra (unless you really want it, in which case be our guest), you won’t need to spend loads of money, give anything up, force down dubious green smoothies, or in fact make much effort at all.
And yet research tells us that making this one small change could prolong your life, increase your mental wellbeing and reduce your risk of serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Are you ready to find out what it is now? Drum roll please…
That’s it. No dodgy pills, no costly subscriptions, no dramatic changes…just sit less. Why? Because as easy as it is to do, the effects could make a huge difference to your long-term health and longevity – even if you’re already a regular gym bunny. Research suggests even an hour of exercise won’t negate the effects of spending the rest of the day sitting.
It’s so easy to get up from your office chair, or sofa, or wherever you’re sitting to go for a one or two minute walk every hour. And yet millions of us choose to ignore this advice every single day.
The year of 2017 is the year we change that.
The key is small, regular movements. The timetable below is a good example of how you can incorporate more physical activity into your day without much effort at all.
Count your steps
Based on the above advice of walking 15 minutes to and from work (or your car/train station) in the morning, plus a two minute walk every hour and thirty minute walk at lunch then on average you’d be:
- walking for 70 minutes
- covering 3-4 miles distance
- burning 300-400 calories
Without changing your routine much at all, you’re already getting over 2x the daily recommended amount of exercise.
You should aim to walk 10,000 steps (five miles) a day. It’s amazing how quickly you’ll clock them up just by moving around the office more. The Lumo Lift posture coach can count them for you, while coaching you into a good posture during the hours you need to sit.
Ask your employer for a sit-stand desk
Sit-stand desks allow you to work while standing, which encourages you to move more. Standing activates your leg muscles, increases your heart rate, enhances your concentration and burns more calories. Sit-stand desks don’t even have to be expensive – ours range from the £263.94 DeskRite 100, to the DeskRite 300, from £670.80, and the £1,110 electric DeskRite 500.
If you do have a sit-stand desk, stand up every hour for twenty minutes to burn around 50 calories more an hour.
Our bodies are evolved to move. To help us survive long days in the elements hunting and gathering, we’ve become adept at conserving energy. In other words, we’re pretty good at storing fat. This is great for long cold winters when food is scarce. Not so great when you live in a heated house, have unlimited access to food, work at a desk and commute in a car or train as so many of us do.
Our lifestyles have changed and so have our bodies. According to the NHS, the average person now spends 60% of their day sitting still. Even an hour of exercise won’t entirely counteract the dangers of spending the rest of the day sitting (although of course it’s much better than nothing).
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), physical inactivity kills 3.2 million of us every year. In fact, it’s the world’s fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, above other risk factors including unsafe drinking water and unmet contraceptive needs. Sedentary behaviour is proven to increase the risk of a whole host of health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and some cancers.
Stephen Hawking, the man generally regarded to be among the greatest scientists in the world, recently took part in a campaign to get people moving more. In this hard-hitting video, the paralyzed scientist says: “How being sedentary has become a major health problem, is beyond my understanding.”
Change your life this January. Make your New Year’s resolution to sit less. Tag #ResolutionSitLess on Twitter to share your journey with us.