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Do You Have Sitting Disease?

Too much time sitting down may spell bad news for your health. Here are 8 ways to get out of your seat.

Get Up and Go continued...

"Have a whole-day approach to physical activity," he says. Go for a walk at lunch instead of chatting in the break room, or use the stairs instead of the elevator.  

3. Pretend it's 1985. Have a question for your co-worker down the hall? Don't shoot him an e-mail; walk to his cubicle and ask him face to face. Some companies have instituted email-free Fridays to get employees out of their chairs more often, Levine says.

4. Take a stand. Standing uses more muscles and burns more calories than sitting. So, train yourself to stand whenever you talk on the telephone, and pace during staff meetings if your boss will allow it.

5. Rearrange the office. Help your company encourage its employees to be more physically active without suggesting that they install treadmills at every workstation, Levine says. Start having walk-and-talk meetings with your co-workers, and get out of the conference room. Move trash cans out of cubicles to make people walk to throw out garbage. Relocate watercoolers by windows, where people will want to congregate.

6. End your workday with a bang. Typically, you lose steam as 5 p.m. approaches, Comana says. "But if you take a brisk, 15-minute walk in the afternoon, you'll be far more productive in your last 2 hours,” he suggests. “If you're worried that you don't have time for a walk, you may be surprised that you get your work done more quickly afterwards."

7. Rethink your commute. If you take a bus or train to work, you can stand up while riding; or do exercises, like clenching and relaxing your muscles; or you can get off a stop early and walk several blocks. If mass transit isn't an option, find a distant parking spot so that you walk for a few minutes before and after work, Dunstan says.

8. Multitask while watching TV. Pull your dust-covered treadmill out of retirement, place it in front of the television, and allow yourself to watch only when you're walking. No exercise equipment? March in place, or tidy the room. Just don't be a couch potato. Research shows that the longer you sit watching television, the greater your waist circumference, and the higher your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, Dunstan says.

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Reviewed on November 22, 2012

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