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You Sit Too Much; Here’s What to Do About It [infographic]

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American workers spend 21 hours a day being sedentary, and only three hours being active, according to research from Ergotron and research firm Research Now. In fact, 86 percent of respondents said that they sit "all day, every day," despite the fact that 70 percent said they hate sitting. Worst of all, more than half of those surveyed said that when they do get up, they use "getting food" as an excuse. Given that most companies aren't going to shell out for treadmill desks for everyone, is there any way to minimize the amount of sitting we're doing?

American workers spend 21 hours a day being sedentary, and only three hours being active, according to research from Ergotron and research firm Research Now. In fact, 86 percent of respondents said that they sit “all day, every day,” despite the fact that 70 percent said they hate sitting. Worst of all, more than half of those surveyed said that when they do get up, they use “getting food” as an excuse. Given that most companies aren’t going to shell out for treadmill desks for everyone, is there any way to minimize the amount of sitting we’re doing?

sitting 

(Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr)

We’re probably not going to transform our workdays into training sessions, but with a little creativity, we can overcome the habit of slumping in our chairs all day. Some cheaper ways to do this include:

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1. Building your own standing desk.

Skip the pricey kits, and build a desk out of what you have on hand. Brandon Keepers at opensoul.org offers DIY instructions that will run you $40, but we’ve seen people cobble together improvised desks from stacks of dictionaries or cubicle shelving. Remember, you don’t need to stand all day to get the benefits. Simply having an option to alternate with your static chair will help vary your posture and remind you to engage your core.

2. Setting an alarm.

Want to avoid eye strain and a sore back? Set an alarm (think silent Outlook reminder, not buzzing alarm clock app) and get up every 20 minutes to a half an hour. Just don’t use it as an excuse to visit the vending machine. If you absolutely have to bribe yourself with snacks in order to get up, bring fruit and veggies from home. That way, when you do indulge in a candy bar, it’ll be because you wanted it, not because you couldn’t think of another reason to get up from your chair.

3. Getting outside.

It’s pretty chilly in the northern hemisphere right now, but you still need your vitamin D — not to mention a break from your computer now and then. At least once a day, especially when it’s sunny, use your break to get outside and walk around for a bit. The fresh air will do you good. You might even notice that you’re more productive after your constitutional.

sitting-infographic 

(Infographic Credit: JustStand.org via Fast Company)

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How do you incorporate more activity into your work day? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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TM
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TM

Here is the simplest way with the most value: drink a lot – lots – of fluids. Kills at least two birds: [1] you have to get up and walk more frequently to the restroom, and if that is far away, you are in luck [2] it flushes your body more of bad stuff.

Kim
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Kim

I use a app called Workrave to help with scheduling breaks. It can even communicate with other installations and synchronize itself to “force” you to take a break. My favourite feature is that is gives you a few exercises to do at each break interval.
http://www.workrave.org/

Barney
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Barney
Tom
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Tom

I got myself a Ball Chair for about $40 and use it exclusively 5 days a week. Not Standing but not just sitting either. I tried the standing desk and found I could not concentrate on the Detail Work (Coding) I do on a daily basis. The Ball Chair Works

Eliezer
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Eliezer

Another good tip, related to the one above, is to make sure to have a good headset if you find yourself on the phone a lot. That way, you can get up and even walk around a bit while on the phone. For myself, I found that helps my brain work better and helps me express myself on the phone if I’m moving but the physical benefits are significant as well.

Greg
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Greg

I try to combat too much sitting at work by standing when I’m on conference calls. Even if I need to follow a shared screen (like a webinar), I can tilt my monitor upwards enough so that I can still follow along while standing.

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