What is Sedentary Behavior?
Sedentary behaviors are usually those that involve sitting or lying down. Binge watching the latest hit series and long days at an office job usually fit the description. Sometimes sedentary behavior cannot be avoided. This past year has brought on an increase in sedentary behavior for a lot of people due to all the virtual meetings that require sitting in front of a computer for long hours.
Why Scale Back?
Unfortunately, sedentary behavior is associated with poorer health outcomes. This means it puts individuals at a higher risk for developing chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes.
What Can We Do?
Life seems to demand sedentary behavior all too often. It often takes intentional efforts to scale back on sedentary behavior. You likely know all the tips about parking further away at the grocery store, always taking the stairs, and sneaking in extra steps throughout your day. This past year has changed things and those tips just might not be practical for you.
The following are five tips for scaling back on sedentary behavior in 2021.
- Schedule standing and walk breaks. Is your calendar filled with virtual meetings and conference calls? Set a reminder to stand up. Better yet, take a short walk or stretch break. Consider standing while participating in some of your meetings.
- Get out of the office for lunch. Don’t continue to sit at your desk and eat your lunch while working. Change locations, requiring you to get up and get moving. Even a short walk down the hall is better than continuing to sit at your desk.
- Walking phone calls. Instead of sitting in your office or on your couch for phones calls, get up and move while talking. Take a walk down your driveway or pace around your home, either way you are moving.
- Bing watching breaks. We could get crazy and suggest watching your favorite show while walking on the treadmill or peddling on the stationary bike. If that is too extreme for you, be sure to get up frequently. Limit yourself on how many episodes you watch at a time. Turn your favorite show into an exercise; five squats every commercial, 10 jumping jacks every time a new episode starts.
- Find movement you enjoy. Another way to combat sedentary behavior is to focus on adding in movement you enjoy doing. This could be leisurely walks, yoga, running, dancing, or gardening. You are much more likely to do things you enjoy. Take the time to experiment with different types of activities to find what you enjoy most. Don’t forget get to add it to your calendar to make sure you get it done!