We spend a lot of time sitting. Office chairs, car seats, sofas, dining room chairs… And exten­sive sit­ting will do wicked things to your back.

Sit­ting in chairs alters the back’s nat­ural curves and make it difficult, if not impossible, for the spine to ade­quately sup­port your body’s weight. It puts pres­sure on your discs and weak­ens the core mus­cles that pro­tect your back. Even the fancy, expensive chairs with lum­bar sup­port can’t protect you.

And what hap­pens when your back hurts? Or when your joints hurt from car­ry­ing around extra weight?

You end up avoid­ing your workouts. Which makes you weaker and more prone to injury. It’s a vicious cycle.

Even if you have a reg­u­lar exer­cise rou­tine, it’s prob­a­bly not enough to counteract a job that has you sit­ting for most of the day at a desk, in meet­ings, in traffic…

While medical experts are trying to devise formulas for how long a typical office worker should spend sitting and standing, I can tell you one thing for sure. Sitting all day and standing all day are both bad for you. The key is breaking up your activity throughout the day.

But the good news is that the solu­tion is pretty simple…

Just get­ting up and mov­ing around a couple of times every hour can make a huge dif­fer­ence, since most of us are seden­tary for up to 75% of our wak­ing hours. So, for every half-hour of sitting, stand for eight minutes and then move around and stretch for two minutes. (Standing for more than 10 minutes tends to cause people to lean, which can lead to back problems.)

It doesn’t need to be vig­or­ous — even a gen­tle stroll has been found to be very effec­tive in elim­i­nat­ing the neg­a­tive effects of sit­ting and pro­mot­ing some of the ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal activity. And there are some very do-able activities that you can do, even in the most traditional of offices.

Take a brisk walk down the hall, sched­ule a walk-and-talk meet­ing with a col­league, stand and pace dur­ing phone calls, take the stairs, do office yoga, or try these office-friendly exer­cises.

Various studies have shown that even regular exercise won’t compensate for the negative effects from sitting too much during the day. Sitting causes physiological changes in the body, and may trigger some genetic factors that are linked to inflammation and chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease

If you’re one of the lucky ones who can utilize a standing desk at work, here’s a fun fact for you: Standing burns up to a calorie more per minute than sitting. In four hours, that represents as many as 240 additional calories burned. Now there’s some real incentive to invest in a standing desk!

If you’re already feeling the pain of too much sitting, try these stretches for tight hips to get a little relief.

What are your favorite ways to get up and move during the day? Let us know in the comments below!

Source articles can be found here and here.

Subscribe for email updates. It's free!

Are you a woman struggling with weight gain and muscle loss? Usual workouts and nutrition plan stopped working? Looking for a fitness mentor who "gets" where you're coming from? I'm here to help.

You have Successfully Subscribed!