Sitting hurts. You might not feel it right away, but sitting all day can be harmful in many ways. If you’re sitting too much without movement breaks or a regular fitness routine you could be hurting your body and your health.
Unfortunately, sedentary lifestyles are an easy trap to fall into. In fact, most adults sit for 6-8 per day.
So it’s time to take a stand against sitting! In this guide, you’ll learn 20 easy ways to move more and avoid the harmful risks of sitting all day.
Why is sitting all day harmful?
Sedentary activity, like sitting all day, can lead to discomfort, chronic pain, or even fatal long term harm.
In a study on the effects of occupational sitting, the CDC noted that sitting all day has been linked to, “premature mortality; chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer; metabolic syndrome; and obesity.”.
Too much sitting can still have harmful effects even with regular exercise too...
When you sit too much, your muscles and joints become static which leads to adverse effects like stiffness, decreased flexibility, joint pain, and muscle pain.
So how do you fix it?
20 best ways to stop sitting all day
Movement and engaging your body is the best method to avoid the harmful effects of sitting all day.
But adding movement to your day isn’t as straightforward as it may seem, especially when you’re doing activities that normally require sitting.
Here’s the 20 best ways to stop sitting all day:
1. Stand while you work
On average, 65% to 75% of work time is spent sitting. That’s a lot of sitting! It’s also where most of our sit time comes from.
So the easiest way to significantly reduce your sit time is to switch to a standing desk or work environment. There’s tons of standing desks available on the market today. A small investment can go a long way for preserving your health.
Hot tip: Ask your employer if there's a budget for alternative desk options. Many companies subsidize work environment options for their employees, so it can’t hurt to ask before you buy your own.
2. Take movement breaks
Breaking up your sit time with movement breaks is an easy way to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
But remembering to take them isn’t always easy. Use a fitness app to set movement reminders and turn movement breaks into a daily habit.
Remember, any movement helps to break up long bouts of sitting. Start small and work your way up.
3. Walk during calls or meetings
If there’s no time for movement breaks during your day, try standing or walking during meetings or calls where you don’t have to be at your desk.
A cheap headset or airpods can go a long way for making this movement available to you. If meeting time can become movement time, you’re on your way to limiting your sitting.
4. Stretch or stand while you watch TV
Sitting isn’t just a work thing. Leisure time can include sitting as well—especially TV.
Try making space for stretching or standing during TV time.
You don’t have to stretch or stand the whole time, but breaking up your relaxation time with standing or stretching breaks has the same benefits as movement breaks during work.
5. Set movement reminders
It’s easy to get lost in your work and forget to move.
Movement reminders are a great way to pull your mind out of work, and pull your body out of the chair.
Fitness and movement apps are the best way to set custom reminders and make sure you’re taking movement breaks throughout your day.
6. Stay hydrated
What does daily hydration have to do with sitting? Easy, every time you fill your water bottle, you’re getting up and moving.
So as long as you’re getting enough water every day, you’re also taking healthy movement breaks to counteract your sitting. It’s a win win.
7. Walk to relax
Life can be pretty stressful. And sitting all day only adds to it.
So to make sure you’re getting enough movement and taking care of your mental health, start walking everyday.
Walking not only helps you be less sedentary, it’s also proven to benefit mental health and wellness, sleep and memory.
8. Try a new hobby
Standing and moving doesn’t have to be boring. Hobbies are a great way to inject some movement into your day.
Any hobby that doesn’t require a lot of sitting is great—like gardening, birding, hiking, or mushroom picking to name a few.
Keeping your movement time interesting is vital for staying engaged and making movement fun. So try a kinetic hobby to spice your movements up a bit.
9. Wear indoor shoes
As you start to stand more throughout your day, keeping your feet comfortable is essential to stay committed.
A good pair of indoor shoes with proper support goes a long way to make your daily movements and standing breaks more comfy.
Hot tip: If you’re using a standing desk, fatigue mats are great for keeping your feet and body happy while you work.
10. Improve your living space
Keeping a list of home improvements is a smart way to add more standing and movement to your free time.
Home improvement projects big and small require strength, movement and engagement—a beneficial way to improve your living space while getting your daily movement in.
11. Gamify your movement
Tracking your movement breaks and workouts like steps, stairs and squats keeps you motivated and helps you gamify your movements into a healthy habit.
Try a gamified fitness app and start tracking your progress. You’ll be surprised how far a little movement can go for improving your day-to-day health.
12. Work out
This one’s obvious: establishing a regular workout routine is an incredibly effective way to add healthy movement to your lifestyle.
Getting started can be intimidating, so start small and find the exercises that work best for you. Not sure where to start? Start your journey with our beginner’s guide on how to start exercising.
13. Walk or stand while you eat
Nothing beats pulling up a chair to a nice hearty meal. But you don’t have to take every meal sitting down.
Work can get in the way of standing time, so why not make breakfast, lunch, or snack time standing time too?
14. Don't keep snacks at your desk
If you still need to sit while you’re snacking, try to at least keep your snacks in another room so you’re still walking and moving throughout your day.
We need to eat to keep our energy up, if you’re moving every time you need to refuel, it’s a great way to add some movement to a habit you already have.
15. Keep good posture
Posture is important for sitting time and standing time. Without good posture, standing can be uncomfortable and you’ll be less likely to keep it up throughout your day.
Use a posture checklist to make sure you’re keeping good posture and getting the most benefits from your standing time.
16. Time your sitting
Time how much and how long you sit for in an entire day.
Use your findings to decide when and how many movement breaks you should be taking each day. A good rule of thumb is to take a movement break every 30-60 minutes.
So if you find that you’re sitting for 4 hours per day, you’ll know you need to get up and move at least 4 times or more.
17. Stretch in the morning, at lunch, and right after work
Stretching is not only a good movement break, but it also helps to counteract some of the harmful symptoms of too much sitting.
Morning stretches are especially helpful to get your day going, but stretching throughout the day works too.
Try to focus on areas that sitting can affect like your shoulders, glutes, legs and back.
18. Replace it with walking
Walking doesn’t have to mean going for a walk. Injecting small amounts of walking throughout your daily routine helps add movement on a smaller scale.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great example but other options could include walking to the grocery store, walking to meet a friend, or walking for any other activity you normally would have driven for.
19. Stand while you're on the phone
Social media and platforms like YouTube have made phone time pretty ubiquitous.
Unfortunately, phone time is usually incredibly uncomfortable sitting time.
I’m sure you can remember at least once browsing your phone twisted up like a pretzel on the couch.
Fix it by making phone time healthy standing time by a sunny window or in your backyard while you’re catching up on your mobile.
20. Earn your sit time
Making your sit time a reward for movements or exercise is a great way to incentivize sitting and keep your movement regular throughout the day.
If you stand for 3 hour during work, great! You deserve some well earned sits at the end of the day.
Figure out a reward system that works for you and start balancing your stand and sit time.
Make your sits fit
There’s nothing wrong with sitting.
Sitting is only harmful when we’re doing it a bit too much. And in today’s world it’s far too easy to overdo it
Use these movement strategies and start sitting less during the day for a happier and healthier lifestyle.