One of the best actions you can take for your overall health is to avoid sitting for extended periods of time.

Research has shown that regularly getting up out of your seat can burn 32% more calories than remaining seated and studies confirm people who gain weight, move 2.25 less hours per day.

Another study that followed over 6000 subjects found that those who sat more in their day were two times more likely to develop Type II Diabetes.

Other studies have shown that excessive sitters are 64%-125% more likely to experience and/or die from heart disease.

Dr. Joan Vernikos, author of Sitting Kills, Movement Heals was first to suggest that sitting is equally as dangerous to our health as smoking and states “we weren’t designed to sit.” It is reported that reducing your sitting time decreases your risk of dying and increases your life span. One study found that reducing your sitting time to 3 hours per day or less, increases your life expectancy by 2 years. 

Not only is excessive sitting detrimental to our physical health, research indicates that those who spend more time standing and moving report improved mood, reduced lethargy, greater energy and enhanced productivity, even with just a short, 5 minute walk on the hour. Another study from Stanford University found that taking a 5-minute walk on the hour helps enhance brain functioning.

Bottom line, standing has physical benefits and also improves our mental health and cognitive development. 

It is estimated that we spend more than half of our waking hours sitting while watching TV, driving or sitting at a desk. Let’s fix that!

Here Are 10 Simple Tips to Increase Your Standing Time:

1- Read 5 Pages

When reading a document or book, set a goal to read X number of pages and then get up and move.

2 – Answer The Phone

Every time the phone rings, use it as a trigger to stand up, walk and talk. 

3 – Text Message

Whenever you get a text message, do 10 reps of a simple exercise like Chair Squats, Knee Lifts, Front/Side/Back Standing Leg Lifts, Standing Back Extensions, Desk pushups or Standing Torso rotations. It won’t be enough to work up a sweat but will keep your blood flowing and improve circulation. These mini workout snacks are great for your overall health!

4 – Post Meal Walk

After each meal, walk for 5 minutes to help with digestion and to increase your daily steps. 

5 – Email Delivery

Instead of emailing your co-workers in your office, walk to their work space and deliver the message to them face-to-face.

6 – Invest in a Standing or Treadmill Desk

Start with small standing increments of 20 minutes at a time. Changing positions is the most important factor. It’s far better to transition from standing to sitting and back to standing every 20-30 minutes than sit for 4 hours and stand for 4 hours at a time. One year-long study found subjects lost 5 to 7.7 pounds when using a Treadmill desk. To prevent sweating while working, set the pace at a leisurely 2 miles per hour.

7 – Set an Alarm

Have your computer trigger you to move your body every 30-60 minutes. An alarm will remind you to get up and do something. 

8 – Schedule Walk & Talk Meetings

Schedule ‘recess’ or walking breaks with colleagues. Not only is this great for your body but can be great for brainstorming or to develop a connection with co-workers. 

9 – Avoid the Elevator/Escalator

Set a goal that if you’re going fewer than a few flights, take the stairs. 

10 – Make the Distance Further

If you must walk to a meeting, take the scenic route around your office building.  If you drive to work, park at the furthest parking spot. If you take C-tran, get off one stop early and walk it in. 

Sitting is a part of everyone’s daily life, but make a conscious effort to reduce it as much as possible. Your body and mind will thank you for it!

Yours in Health & Fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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