Standing Up to A Sedentary Lifestyle
by Deborah L. Mullen, CSCS 

Sitting used to be a way of getting off your feet and resting a few moments in a life filled with physical activities. Now our lives are filled with so many labor-saving devices and motionless activities (actually inactitivies) that many of us are sitting virtually motionless for over 80% of our waking hours. So instead of offering people to “have a seat,” we should be saying “get on your feet!” 

Recent studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time is hazardous to your health and that incorporating a little movement throughout your day will not only improve your levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar, but can also decrease your waist size, boost your energy, and enhance your concentration.  

One simple question asked throughout the day can be your key to better health and fitness: “Do I have to be sitting right now?” If the answer is “no”, then get off your behind! Try standing instead of sitting when: 

Talking on the phone—Get in the habit of standing up when the phone rings or when you are dialing a number.  

Reading memos, documents, and articles—Get some 100% recycled paper and print out hard copies so you can stand and read, starting with this article! 

Talking to co-workers—Your mouth and ears work just fine while standing.  

Waiting for the computer to do its thing—If you aren’t typing, why are you sitting? Standing will give your mental concentration a boost for when you sit back down. 

While you are up, might as well burn some more calories and reduce muscular aches and pains by:

- walking in place
- lifting heels, then lifting toes
- performing partial knee bends
- swinging one leg back and forth, then the other 

If you have to sit, at least move the sluggish lower-body and core muscles by:

- straightening one leg then the other
- lifting heels, then lifting toes
- squeezing your buttocks
- arching and rounding your torso

To get in the habit of standing more, make use of reminders such as index cards taped to your monitor with sayings like “Stand Up! and "Move It!” Continually ask yourself “Do I have to be sitting right now?” Find and make use of opportunities to move more – either by standing up or by moving while sitting. You can look better and feel better by standing up to a sedentary lifestyle!

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