With about 26% of the adult population sitting for more than eight hours a day, the risks of physical inactivity taking a toll on your body are real.
If you’re looking for extra motivation to get up and get moving, there’s a powerful study documenting how physical inactivity for 8 hours a day can take years off your life.
The increased risk of early death adds to what we know about the harm of inactivity — which also includes increased risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity.
What’s your risk?
Researchers analyzed data from 16 different studies world-wide involving more than 1,000,000 people, most of whom were over 45. Study subjects were classified into activity levels of less than 5 minutes a day for the least active to 60 to 75 minutes for the most active.
The greatest risk was for people who both sat for long periods of time and were physically inactive. One interesting point was that people who sat for 4 hours and got no exercise each day were worse off than people who sat for 8 hours but got an hour or more of exercise daily.
And watching TV makes it worse. Sitting watching TV for more than 3 hours per day was associated with increased risk of death in all activity groups except the most active. And at more than 5 hours per day of TV, it didn’t matter how much you exercised, risk of death was increased.
Here are more ideas to get moving by incorporating micro-activitie into your day.
Micro daily movements, also known as "micro-movements" or "micro-activities," refer to small, incremental physical actions you can integrate into your daily routine to reduce sedentary behavior and stay active. These tiny movements may not seem significant on their own, but when accumulated throughout the day, they can contribute to improved overall health and well-being. Here are some examples:
1. Desk Exercises: While sitting at your desk, perform subtle exercises like ankle circles, leg lifts, or seated twists to engage your muscles.
2. Fidgeting: Embrace fidgeting, like tapping your feet or fingers, which burns extra calories and keeps your muscles active.
3. Standing Breaks: If you have a desk job, make it a habit to stand up every 30 minutes or so. Stretch, take a few steps, or do some standing calf raises.
4. Calf Raises: While waiting in line or for your coffee to brew, do calf raises by lifting your heels off the ground repeatedly.
5. Deep Breathing Exercises- Engage your core muscles and improve posture by practicing deep breathing exercises. Inhale deeply, expand your chest, and exhale slowly.
6. Stair Climbing: Whenever you encounter stairs, take them instead of an elevator or escalator. Even a single flight of stairs can provide a quick burst of activity.
7. Kitchen Workouts: While cooking or waiting for water to boil, do kitchen counter push-ups or leg lifts to engage your muscles.
8. Hand and Wrist Exercises: Stretch and flex your wrists and fingers, especially if you spend a lot of time typing or using handheld devices.
9. Balancing Exercises: Try balancing on one foot while brushing your teeth or waiting for your morning coffee to brew.
10. Mini Workouts: Sneak in mini workouts throughout the day. For instance, do a quick set of squats or lunges while waiting for a meeting to start.
11. Walking Meetings: Instead of sitting in a conference room, suggest a walking meeting where you and your colleagues discuss business matters while taking a stroll.
12. Phone Calls on the Move: Make phone calls while walking around your office or outside rather than sitting at your desk.
13. Doodling and Stretching: If you find yourself doodling or taking notes during a meeting, use it as an opportunity to stretch and engage different muscle groups.
14. Pace While Reading: If you enjoy reading, pace back and forth while doing so to stay active.
15. Use a Balance Ball Chair: Consider using a balance ball chair instead of a traditional chair at your desk. This promotes subtle core engagement and better posture.
16. Play with Pets: Spend some time playing with your pets, whether it's chasing them around the yard or engaging in a game of fetch.
17. Toe Tapping: Tap your toes or move your legs while seated to keep your lower body active.
18. Gardening: If you have a garden, tend to it daily by weeding, planting, or watering. These activities involve constant bending and stretching.
19. Take the Long Route: Opt for longer walking routes, whether it's to the restroom, water cooler, or your car.
20. Active TV Watching: During TV commercials, use that time for quick exercises like planks, wall sits, or jumping jacks.
Incorporating these micro daily movements into your routine can help combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting and promote a more active and healthy lifestyle.