First, the good news: smoking, once the “bad habit” of choice for nearly half of all Americans in the mid 1950’s, is now much less prevalent with only about 20 percent of all Americans smoking. The bad news: sitting down for hours at a time, now a more common lifestyle than ever, is considered by some health experts to be even worse for your health than smoking!
Sitting reduces blood flow, inhibits the immune system, and decreases the nutrient supply to your muscles and brain. Sitting for long periods of time is correlated with increased risk of all sorts of non-communicable, chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. What’s perhaps worse is that, at least according to health experts, the damage done by a past sedentary lifestyle cannot be undone by changing your habits.
Fortunately, changing those habits now can still prevent further damage and reduce future health risks, and it’s quite easy to find ways to avoid sitting for long stints. Here are a few tips for minimizing your sedentary time throughout your day:
- Take advantage of break times at work by vigorous walking rather than just sitting somewhere else.
- Stand and stretch every twenty minutes.
- Make daily exercise before or after work a priority.
- Purchase a standing desk for your home or office.
- When the opportunity arises, stand during meetings rather than sitting.
- Replace some of your sedentary hobbies in favor of physically active hobbies.
Last but not least, you could buy a Flintstones car. It may reduce your auto insurance premiums as well!