Is Being Healthy as Simple as Standing Up?

We all do it. We know we do it. Yet we don’t know how to change it.

We sit too much.

Many of us think we are more active than we really are. I was shocked to find out that I spend an average of 13 hours a day sitting. I promise – I’m even an active person! I hit the gym whenever possible and I’ve recently taken up running (training for my first 15k this summer!).

But I sit at work – a lot.

Why is sitting so bad? Well, it can put us at risk for some serious stuff like heart disease or diabetes. This was even true for people like me who exercise regularly.

So I went on the hunt for fun, simple ways to get my body out of the chair and moving more. I consulted my co-worker, Eileen Wolff, a workplace wellness consultant, who offered the following advice.

You can also visit ExcellusBCBS.com/LiveFearlessNation for more on how to make small changes for a healthier life – one fearless step at a time.

  1. Stand once an hour to improve your health. Research has shown that this super simple move can do a lot to counter the bad effects of sitting, which includes its negative impact on heart health.

  1. Need help remembering to stand? Set a reminder to get up and move or stretch for a few minutes every hour. Your phone timer, Fitbit or other wearables or apps can help.
  2. Try sleeping in your workout clothes. That way you can just get up and go for that walk or run.
  3. But I totally get it if you’re not into sleeping in your workout clothes! Instead, maybe keep a pair of sneakers and a light jacket in your car or office to make it easier to go for a quick walk during the work day.
  4. Rope others into your quest to move more. Turn a friend or co-worker into a walking or exercise buddy.
  5. Skip the conference room and schedule a walking meeting. Walk the hallways near your office, or side-by-side on a treadmill (if you have a gym at work!).

The author’s co-workers skip the meeting room in favor of a walk around the workplace.

  1. Stand while you work, even if it’s just for 5 to 10 minutes. Then slowly increase the amount of time standing. Here are some tips for creating your own standing desk at home: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/diy-standing-desks/

Another co-worker uses a laundry bin to construct an at-home standing desk.

  1. Exercise at your desk by doing desk pushups, stretching your legs or working your arms with resistance bands.
  2. Be social! Sign up for an exercise class or join a hiking, walking or running group that meets after work to avoid the temptation of going home and sitting some more. Maybe try a Hikyoga class?
  3. Or, if you’re more of a homebody, there’s a lot you can do to keep you off the couch and get moving. Get out the push mower, wash your own car, rake the yard or weed your garden.
  4. Exercise while watching TV. Use the commercial breaks to alternate between pushups, ab crunches, planks and squats. If you’re binge watching your favorite Netflix series, consider a 5-minute walking or standing break between episodes.
  5. Go shopping! If you have to stop at the mall or store after work or on the weekend, make a point of parking farther away from the door and then walking around the perimeter of the store or mall first.
  6. Add an exercise to the small things you do every day. I’m planning to take an extra lap around the office every time I get water. It’s a 2-for-1 for health!
  7. Be “inefficient.” Most of us try to grab all of the grocery bags or the workday’s pile out of the car at once. Why not make a few trips back and forth and add some additional steps to your day?
  8. Find a furry friend. They love walks and can be a great fitness partner. If you don’t own one, offer to walk the neighbor’s dog. Check out this spotlight on Randy Sabourin – the man behind the free Wellness Wednesdays in downtown Syracuse, N.Y. — who walks his dog every morning.

Were you able to tackle one or more of these tips? Celebrate! Tell yourself how awesome you are when you try that one, new, simple thing that makes you healthier. Check out BJ Fogg’s TED Talk on tiny habits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdKUJxjn-R8

Do you have a tip that we missed? Tell us in the comments section below.

Julie Goonan

Julie Goonan

Julie Goonan lives in Brighton, NY, with her husband, son, newborn daughter and their dog. She’s a brand development manager at Excellus Blue Cross BlueShield, adjunct marketing instructor, LGBTQ ally, and now a passionate supporter of those on the journey to grow a family.
Julie Goonan

2 thoughts on “Is Being Healthy as Simple as Standing Up?

  1. Jim Allen says:

    Hi Julie:
    Thanks for posting the tips. I especially enjoyed the ‘Tiny Habits’ TED Talk you mentioned. I’m going to try to incorporate it into my daily routing. I recently got a standing desk at work (great tip about trying it out at home first) and am going to do 30 seconds of stretching whenever I switch between sitting and standing, then later add in exercise like 1 or 2 pushups like the video mentioned.

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