Feel like you’re sitting too much? You probably are, but you’re definitely not alone.

More than half of Australian adults are either completely inactive or do not meet Australia’s physical activity guidelines. The guidelines recommend at least 2.5 hours of moderate activity such as walking each week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise such as running each week.

But even if you do meet that recommendation, chances are you’re still sitting for many hours of the day. About half of all Australian workers have jobs that involve sitting, whether that’s at a desk, in a car or operating machinery. And then there’s all that time we spend on our bums travelling and watching TV or playing with our smartphones.

The bad news is, mounting research links prolonged sitting or lying down during the day with being overweight, and getting a range of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and cancers of the bowel, breast and uterus. It also increases your risk of depression and anxiety, and of an early death.

The good news is, there are plenty of ways to break up your sitting time and you’ll probably feel better for it. Experts recommend standing and moving every 30 minutes to increase blood flow through your body which improves mental alertness and reduces muscle tension.

As part of the La Trobe Financial Wellness Series, we’ve got some ideas to get you out of your chair:

At work

  • Try standing or walking meetings with colleagues
  • Set a reminder on your computer or phone to get up every half hour for a quick walk
  • When taking a phone call, stand up or walk around while you’re talking
  • Instead of emailing colleagues in the same building, get up and approach them in person
  • Take the stairs instead of lifts or escalators, or at least walk up the escalator
  • Move your rubbish bin away from your desk so you have to get up to throw things away

At home

  • Try to stand up every 30 minutes to do a job or get a glass of water
  • Stand up during ad breaks on TV or do the ironing while you watch your favourite show
  • Hang your washing out on the line instead of putting it in the dryer
  • Wash your car by hand instead of taking it through the drive-through car wash
  • Walk around the house while talking on the phone or checking text messages
  • Arrange to catch up with family and friends while doing something active such as a walk, a bike ride, or a yoga class.

This article was written as part of the La Trobe Financial Wellness Series. Thanks to La Trobe Financial for their continued commitment to our community.

13 April 2021