One of the best resolutions you can make this year is to take a stand for health. Literally! If you’ve been to one of my community health talks during the past year or so, you’ve heard me touting the benefits of standing and moving your body more during the day. The research is clear that sitting too much is harmful to your health. In fact, many health experts are calling sitting the new smoking. I couldn’t agree more!
Between commuting, sitting all day at work or school, and watching television at night, the average American spends about nine hours a day on his or her derriere. In fact, most of us sit more than we sleep! According to Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James A. Levine, MD, PhD, all of this sitting is associated with more than 30 chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression. Unfortunately, as Levine points out, 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise is not enough to negate the harmful effects of sitting the rest of the day.
According to the research, standing instead of sitting can help to shrink your waistline. Standing more can help you lose 8 to 20 pounds over the course of a year! Make it a goal to stand for at least half of your day. Here are five ways to help you stand up for health:
- Purchase a standing desk (you can find a nice model for less than $100 on Amazon.com).
- Invest in an activity tracker or pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps per day!
- Skip the drive-thru at Starbucks. Go inside and stand in line. (Extra credit for ordering an energizing herbal tea, like mint, instead of a sugar-laden coffee drink.)
- If you watch TV, make it a habit to stand up during the commercials.
- Prepare home-cooked meals, do your own housework and tend a garden. All that cooking, cleaning and playing in the dirt will really get you moving! (My mom is a shinning example of this principle. She’s healthy, lean, fit and gorgeous at age 70 and rarely outsourced cooking, cleaning or yard work!)
Of course, your dietary choices still matter. No amount of standing or exercise can make up for eating junk food. Until next time, make every bite count!