If you’re sitting down reading this blog, you should stop. Well, don’t stop reading but you may want to stand up. If you’re like the majority of the U.S. population, you spend hours of your day sitting at a desk staring at a screen and when you get home, you sit right back down to check your social media or watch TV. Sound familiar? Our modern lives have been engineered for us to live sitting down. And unfortunately, this is killing us. Literally.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 3.2 million deaths each year are attributable to insufficient physical activity. On average, a person sits at a desk for 9.5 hours and spends another 7.5 hours of their day sleeping. Our sedentary lives are responsible for an increase in diabetes, heart disease, obesity, as well as attribute to muscle loss and deteriorated bone strength.

To take a deeper look and think about your daily life. You wake up in the morning, get ready for work, and sit through your daily commute. From there, you probably sit at a desk and stare at a screen checking emails, make phone calls, etc. for hours.

Lunch time? Great! Will you be sitting inside or outside? And when the day is over - it’s time to sit for the commute home. Upon your destination, you relax and unwind by sitting on your couch until it’s time to drag yourself to bed.

Isn’t it crazy how all this sitting adds up?

But there’s a solution! Here at the Y, we promote healthy living from the time you step into our facility until the time you step out. For the rest of the time when you’re not at the Y, we have come up with a few exercises to keep you from sitting your day away.

Stretch at your desk:

  • Rubber neck: Stand up, drop your right ear to your right shoulder, hold for a few seconds and switch.
  • Chest opener: Stand up tall and bring your hands behind your back, press your palms together and hold for 10 seconds.

Exercise at your desk:

  • Squats: From your chair, stand up, sit down and repeat 10 times.
  • Glute Squeeze: Here’s one you can do and nobody will even know. An isometric move, squeeze your glute muscles as tight as you can while sitting and hold for 20-30 seconds before releasing. Repeat.

Outside of your desk:

  • Park father away. I mean really, is an extra couple hundred yards going to kill you?
  • Walk and talk: Take a break from the cold conference room with stale bagels and donuts from Dunkin. Get up and go meet face-to-face instead of sending an email. And because exercise improves brain function, you may actually come up with some stellar ideas!

The most important thing is to be aware of how much time you’re spending sitting. Ideally you should be getting up from your desk at least once an hour. Set an alarm on your smart phone or watch to stop staring at that Excel sheet and get moving!