Wellness

What you need to do if you sit all day at work

Spending eight hours a day sitting in a chair can have a negative impact on health — but you can offset those side effects with as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day.

blonde woman stretching outdoors at sunrise, workout and fitness

Photo, Getty Images.

Contrary to previous alarming health reports, your office chair is not your enemy — at least not entirely.

For years we’ve been told that the way we work has a serious and negative affect on our long-term health. Sitting all day has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and even premature death. It also puts us at increased risk for obesity and type-2 diabetes, among other unpleasant side effects.

But new research (via Prevention) suggests that office workers aren’t doomed to perish in service of upper management’s insistence that they sit and work for eight hours, after all. In fact, the side effects of a sedentary working life can be mitigated through exercise.

The study, which was conducted by the American Cancer Society, The Cooper Institute, and the University of Texas and published in the academic journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, determined two important facts. On the one hand, it confirmed the bad news that a sedentary existence is bad for your health and is a factor in the development of many chronic illnesses.  But it also determined that an active lifestyle could make a significant dent in the inevitability of most of these complications, too.

You don’t need to start training for an Ironwoman competition to offset your sedentary work life, however. Getting in as little as 20 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise can make all the difference, say experts. And if the gym is the last place you want to be in summer, that’s fine, too. Physical activity covers a range of opportunities, from gardening to yard work to swimming and walking with friends.

Check out these 10-minute exercises to get you started