Here is how to MOVE more 元 and SIT less for more health and wellbeing - a list of practical tips

Long time sitting is one of the worst things we can do for our health.

Literally, one of the worst things.

Yet most of our workplaces, social events, learnings experiences and conferences are designed around sitting.

Sadly, even if you have a great sports routine out of work, but spend 8h sitting every day, your health still suffers

greatly.

Sitting make us:

  • Detached from our body (it practically puts many of our muscles “to sleep”)
  • Provides oxygen for brain and internal organs (and less oxygen is one of the main causes of dementia and cognitive decline with age)
  • It leads to back pain and neck pain
  • Is related to range of health issues, from weight gain to risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • …. I will stop here, although list could go way longer…

Apart from taking away a lot of enjoyment from using our body more actively, it is also detrimental for our health.

So what can we do about it?

The key to mitigate negative effects of sitting on our health and wellbeing are two steps:

  1. Integrating regular movement throughout the day into our routine & interrupt sitting periods as often as we can (ideal would be every 20 minutes or so… but anything is better than nothing ;) )
  2. Sitting in a better way - strengthening our muscles (especially our back), and working on our posture (both when standing and sitting)

How about we break that cycle of sitting already today and work on some new, healthier habits - habits of living life with more movement?

Start by taking a moment to just ponder a bit about how much sitting are your doing daily - at work, traffic, leisure, social activities… Think, how could you do a bit less of it?

I hope the list of tips in today’s post will inspire you start MOVING and to give you ideas to shorten the periods of sitting (no matter if you are already good at it or have a lot to improve).

How to incorporate more MOVEMEMENT and LESS SITTING in your everyday work?

  • add in movement breaks into your day wherever possible (even 2 minute breaks will be great!)- do small stretching at your desk often, when possible do a couple of quick pushups or squats, go up and down the stairs, plan yoga or sports during lunch break instead of beginning or end of the day, take a small walk during lunch - the key is to interrupt getting “stuck” in sitting position for too long
  • try to change position in which you work often - while one of the great approaches is to design ergonomic workplace (paying attention to hands position, back position etc), the key is also to change the position often in the day - e.g. moving from chair to standing to walking to sitting on a ball or disc-o-sit - while some types of sitting are better than the others, what is the best is not getting stuck in neither for too long periods of time
  • experiment with standing desk (or treadmill desk) - while standing is not significantly better than sitting is, the advantage that it gives is that in standing position we are not as prone to “freeze” our body in a fixed position but we do a bit more of movement (shifting our weight from one leg to another etc) - similar to previous point, the optimal mix would be to combine different positions of sitting and standing
  • work on awareness of your body - one of the worst things about sitting is that it disconnects us from our body and we stop being aware of anything from neck down - we can mitigate that with more movement or building more of body awareness (exercises such as self check in or body scan meditation) - that way we will also be noticing better when we stay for too long in a certain position
  • reflect what are the longest period of sitting that you have in a day and think of ways to interrupt those specific periods

How to incorporate more MOVEMEMENT and LESS SITTING in your everyday life?

  • diversity of movement - go to different workshops… move more in everyday life
  • plan social activities with more movement
  • plan leisure activities with less sitting and more movement - even if you are reading or watching a movie, can you integrate a bit of stretching and movement into it?
  • notice when are you sitting the most? think, how can you integrate other positions and more movement into those specific moments
  • encourage others to move more, and ask them to encourage you - talk about how movement is great
  • commute in a way that provides more movement
  • work on body awareness…
  • savour and appreciate movement - notice how crazy good it feels when your body moves, when it is alive…

Like Ido Portal (a great guy to learn more about the movement) says (I am paraphrasing here a bit ;):

“Why I move? Because I can. Too often people become aware of the value of movement and how amazing it is to move their body only once they lose some of it’s abilities. But can’t we appreciate it right now, while we can move and use our body?

I move my body because I have a body, and it is sign of appreciation for body that I was given.”

I guess the first step towards moving more is to fall in love - again and again - with how amazing it feels when we engage our body in movement.

Feeling of energy, vitality and feeling alive.

So, perhaps one thing worthy adding to this long list of tips is: remind yourself what you LOVE about movement, and how great it feels when you move your body. Savour that feeling, and strive to enrich your life with more of is.

Sooooo…. what is one small thing you are planning to do today to sit a little bit less?

I would love to hear how will you be putting these ideas in practice, or what further ideas would you add to this list - so, don’t be shy, let us know in post comments and inspire us with your tips, ideas and best practices 🤸

P.S. As always, small actions count for more than deep learnings - however, if you would like to explore more about the detrimental effect of sitting, and how to work against it, check a great book Deskbound for deeper exploration.

P.P.S. if you feel like you would benefit of more wellbeing tips (usually more about your mind than body, but it all counts :)), do join us at Happiness Academy weekly newsletter and get an idea like this every Thursday

http://happiness-academy.eu/newsletter/

mariagomez's profile thumbnail
Hi these are so great! I work for a software development agency and we've been working on an internal project designing an app and chair that helps with your posture so sitting around for so long doesn't affect your health!https://www.hattrick-it.com/projects/posture
Mirna's profile thumbnail
brilliant, such an important topic to work on!
Mirna's profile thumbnail
can you use the up without the chair or without any accessorise?
mariagomez's profile thumbnail
Currently no! It's a prototype for now. We're working on the development
Mirna's profile thumbnail
Cool, curious to hear when you have it, do keep in touch :)