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We all know sitting is not good for us, but could it really be as dangerous as smoking? If you are reading this while sitting down, you may want to stand up.

In a recent study, it was found that individuals who sit for the majority of the day are 54% more likely to die of heart attacks. In addition, it is harmful to the musculoskeletal system, resulting in neck or low back pain, weak abdominals and glutes, tight chest muscles, and tight hip flexors. Prolonged sitting can also be a contributing factor for carpal tunnel syndrome.

On average, people sit 7.7 hours a day, and some studies show people sit up to 15 hours a day! Calculate your daily sitting time.

In Central Oregon, people are generally more active than in other parts of the country. But more exercise time won’t necessarily combat the negative effects of sitting all day. If you sit more than six hours each day, try these seven easy ways to combat sitting disease:

  • Stand more. Standing increases energy, burns more calories, tones muscles, improves posture, increases blood flow, and ramps up metabolism.
  • Walk more. Park your car farther away from buildings and use stairs instead of elevators. When you are watching TV, get up and walk during commercials.
  • While computing, set a timer or use an app to remind you to stand up and stretch every half hour. Great stretches for the office include looking away from your desk, opening your chest, twisting, stretching hip flexors, and extending your back.
  • At the beginning of every meeting agenda, announce that it is okay to stand throughout, or have walking meetings.
  • Don’t send emails if the recipient is near, instead get up and walk over to them. Move your trash can, documents, and printer to other side of your office.
  • If you have to sit often, sit up straight with proper alignment and keep your feet on the floor. Sitting on an exercise ball forces you to use your core muscles and negates some of the harmful effects of sitting.
  • Although more expensive, standing desks can have significant benefits. By standing, a person can burn 30-60 more calories in an hour.

For additional information on preventing sitting disease, exercises you can do at your desk, and creating a standing desk, click here.