We are sitting more than ever. Since the pandemic began, we have found new ways to complete everyday tasks such as online grocery shopping or virtual meetings.  While things are opening up again, all signs point to a greater reliance on the internet, which means more sitting.  On average now, people are sitting for around ten hours a day, which is much higher than ever before. This could lead to problems in your leg and glute muscles and even digestion and weight issues. In fact it has been said that sitting is the new smoking.  A sedentary lifestyle can be just as dangerous as other harmful habits.  Sedentary activity, In a study on the effects of occupational sitting, the CDC noted that sitting all day has been linked to, “premature mortality; and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer; metabolic syndrome; and obesity.”.

When you sit too much, your muscles and joints become static which leads to adverse effects like stiffness, decreased flexibility, joint and muscle pain. The areas most at risk are obviously your leg and gluteal muscles.Spending too much time on those muscles can cause them to deactivate and that leads to all the smaller muscles around them having to compensate. Over time this will lead to the weakening of the glute and leg muscles which makes them weaker and more likely to injure from a fall or workout.

Young asian business woman with pain in neck
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Something else you could experience by sitting all day is bowel problems. Since our bodies are made to be standing upright, this little change for such a prolonged period of time could throw off your body’s digestive routine. Not only could this lead to problems on the toilet, but it could also lead to weight gain. Recent studies from the Better Health Channel show that you need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day to fight off the problems caused by excessive sitting.

Luckily, if you get a jump on fighting these problems, they could be a lot easier to fix. According to physical therapist Dan Giordano, if you can spend at least 15 minutes a day training those leg and glute muscles, you will have enough strength to at least make the dangers of sitting not all that scary.

If you have found yourself sitting much more than ever, we’ve got some tips on how to get more movement into your day.

Tips to reduce sitting time:

  • stand on the train or bus
  • take the stairs and walk up escalators
  • set a reminder to get up every 30 minutes
  • place a laptop on a box or similar to work standing
  • stand or walk around while on the phone
  • take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break
  • walk to a colleague's desk instead of emailing or calling
  • swap some TV time for more active tasks or hobbies
  • Stand up while you are on the phone. Better yet, pace!
  • Walk more around your house.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Hold a walking meeting.
  • Walk after you eat lunch.
  • Park your car farther away from your destination. Don't look for that perfect spot up close.
  • Take the long route!
  • Dance when you can!
  • Get vigorous about your daily cleaning and cooking.
  • Work your calves when you brush your teeth!
  • Stand up and stretch when you're at your computer a lot.
  • Don't send emails if the recipient is in walking distance. Get up, walk and talk.