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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.
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Get Up and Go continued...

Exercise physiologist Fabio Comana, an instructor in San Diego State University’s School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, agrees with this approach to activity. “Get moving more often with small goals,” he says. "Stretch out your entire body, all the muscles that are cramped. If you do it five or six times a day, you'll start to notice a difference."

2. Think beyond a lunchtime workout. "Getting 1 hour of exercise in the middle of the day is better than not doing anything, but that still leaves 7 hours of sitting during the workday," says David Dunstan, PhD, who heads the physical activity laboratory in the metabolism and obesity division at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

"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."

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