Any extended sitting time, whether it’s at your work desk, behind the wheel on your daily commute, or watching television, can be harmful to your health. Even if you use less energy sitting than standing or moving, research has linked sitting for too long in a chair to several health risks.
These risks vary from your usual back pain to some rare, life-threatening conditions. The issue with being sedentary goes beyond your physical condition. Although being overweight can increase the risks further, people in great physical shape are also at risk if they sit for extended periods.
For these reasons and more, looking for ways to calculate the time you spend sitting can be worthwhile. Figuring out the time you spend sitting can let you know about your predisposition toward some health risks and point you towards some methods to reduce your sitting time at work or home.
Sitting Time: Why You Should Sit Less
Having a sedentary lifestyle at work or at home can be dangerous to your well-being. You can reduce the risk of suffering from multiple health problems if you shorten the time you spend sitting. Some studies link inactivity with being overweight, developing Type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, and even early death.
Other conditions you may suffer for sitting too much are high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, and excess body fat around the waist. These symptoms and others make up what is known as metabolic syndrome, an array of conditions that increase the risk of suffering from heart diseases, strokes, and diabetes.
How long should you sit? Considering that most people spend at least eight hours on average sitting each day, it’s easy to see how it can be a concern for many. The risk can even be higher for office workers. Considering they already spend most of their time sitting at work, any leisure time they occupy sitting can further increase the risk.
There isn’t any research dictating how much sitting is too much, but plenty of observational studies already exist explaining the downsides. Fortunately, if you want to reduce your sitting time at work, there are many ways you can go about it.
How to Calculate the Time You Spend Sitting
Now that you know the dangers that sitting for prolonged periods poses to your health, the next step would be calculating the time you spend sitting. Many useful tools on the internet can help you estimate the time you spend sitting. Most of these tools are called Sitting Time Calculators, and some of them let you know how at-risk you are from the sitting disease. This disease is another name for a sedentary lifestyle and the health problems associated with it.
Of course, you can simply calculate the time on your end by paying attention to the time you spend sitting throughout the day with your ergonomic chair, getting a more accurate assessment. This way is somewhat troublesome as you have to spend your whole day paying attention to the time. Websites can give you a rough estimate in less than a minute and let you know if you are at risk.
For reference, sitting for more than eight hours already puts you in the high-risk category, while less than four hours places you at low risk. When you have a high risk of suffering from health conditions, taking active measures becomes necessary to remain healthy.
How to Reduce Sitting Time
You can’t avoid spending some time sitting on your commute if you drive, but you can choose to stand if you use any public transit system or walk to work every now and then. On the other hand, there are many ways to reduce your sitting time at work, so here are some of the most useful ones we know:
1. Take Small Breaks from Work
A good way to spend less time sitting at your office desk is to take more active breaks throughout your workday. It would be best if you stood to walk around every 30 minutes or so. You could also take a walk every time you take a coffee break or a lunch break.
Talking a walk on your break can turn a generally static activity into a small exercise. Doing this every coffee and lunch break can easily let you do some exercise that can significantly reduce the risk of sedentary work.
2. Incorporate Sit-stand Sessions
If you have an office standing desk, having sit-stand sessions can help you avoid most health issues that come from sedentary work. Performing these sessions lets you get the most out of your standing desk.
Changing positions between sitting and standing not only helps you reduce your sitting time at work. It allows you to correct your posture or maintain an adequate one effortlessly. Standing up also lets you engage your muscles, allowing you to stretch and move around as you keep on working at your desk.
There are more benefits of using a standing desk apart from the ones mentioned. Implementing sit-stand sessions and pairing up a standing desk with an ergonomic chair can nearly eliminate the risk of suffering from any health condition or general discomfort.
Although you can stand every once in a while when you’re using standard sitting desks, you can lose some of your focus on your task at hand when you interrupt your work. When you’re comparing standing vs. sitting desks, the main takeaway is the seamless transition between the positions and the productivity increase you gain.
3. Add Some Physical Activities to Your Daily Routine
Instead of calling or texting co-workers that are a short walk away, get up from your desk and visit them. You can make a point of standing up every time you have to make a call or write a text.
Having a fitness app or any other kind on your cellphone that gives you a signal every once in a while to move can be helpful. When it does give you that alert, you can take a stroll to fill up your water glass or coffee cup or stand and stretch for a short moment to release some pressure.
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