Research shows that sitting for long periods of time increases your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. According to Dr. James Levine, author of “Get Up!: Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It,” sitting has become like eating. It is bad for your health when done without moderation and in the wrong way. Our bodies are made to move and we are sitting more and moving less, which causes multiple health issues.
Here are three reasons to kick your chair habit and move more throughout your day:
- Standing creates more opportunities for your body to burn calories. Dr. Levine coined the term “NEAT,” which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. NEAT is the energy used when doing any activity or movement outside of sleeping or a sports-like physical activity, such as cleaning, typing or walking. These daily movements add up quickly and can contribute to your overall health. For example, a chair-bound worker burns approximately 300 NEAT calories per workday and a person on their feet can burn up to 1,300 NEAT calories per workday.
- According to Levine, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movements in the body helps to alert the processes that break down fats and sugars. Sitting slows down these processes and increases your health risks.
- Standing improves brain functioning. Levine explains that there is a direct connection between an active body and an active mind. Fresh blood and oxygen pump through the brain and releases mood-enhancing chemicals. When you are active, you feel energized, focused and happier.
Levine recommends taking a standing or stretch break once an hour, or if possible, every 20 to 30 minutes. The key is to incorporate more movement into whatever you do each day, even when at home.