March 29, 2024

Stand up for your health!

Kaiser Permanente researcher Dori Rosenberg shares the importance of being less sedentary — and tips for sitting less.

Reducing your sitting time by about 30 minutes a day could improve your blood pressure and overall health.

Did you know that too much sitting may be linked to a greater risk of health problems?

For example, spending most of the day sitting may contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.

“Whatever your age or ability, anything you can do to stand and move a little more might improve your health,” said Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH, a senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

Rosenberg is leading research on ways to help people spend less time sitting — for example, by using commercially available fitness trackers that give reminders to get up.

30 minutes a day makes a difference

In a recent clinical trial, Rosenberg and her colleagues helped older adults cut back on their time spent sitting during the day.

The researchers found that reducing sitting time by about 30 minutes daily led to better blood pressure measurements, which could reduce health risks.

For most people, it’s easy to stand more. Here are tips to spend more time up and about each day, drawn from Rosenberg’s research.

Stand during activities when you usually sit

  • Read the newspaper, browse the internet, or catch up on emails while standing at a counter.
  • Set up a desk or writing space where you can stand.
  • When doing hobbies such as knitting or playing board games, stand at a high table or counter for some of the time.
  • Stand for the first few minutes while talking on the phone.
  • When using the computer, set reminders to stand and do stretches or strengthening exercises regularly.
  • Stand during the first morning cup of tea or coffee.
  • Stand every time you send a text message.

Change your TV habits

  • Stand, stretch, or move around the room during commercials or during halftime.
  • Only watch TV when it’s dark outside.
  • Watch TV while doing a standing household chore like ironing or folding clothes.

Do small bits of standing and walking all day long

  • Take a walk around the block or around your house after each meal.
  • Walk your dog.
  • Take the longest route to get to places within your home — or make an extra loop.
  • Take a break to dance to one song.
  • Walk and talk (in person or on the phone) with a friend instead of sitting to catch up.
  • Park the car farther away when grocery shopping or doing errands.
  • Walk an extra lap around stores when shopping for groceries or doing errands.
  • If you live in a large building, take a walk through the hallways.