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March 17, 2015

Warning: this article will get you jumping out of your seat.

If it doesn’t, we have a problem. New research suggests that sitting is as bad as smoking.

Needless to say, I’m scared sitless. After all, how else am I supposed to watch House of Cards at my desk now…er, I mean get all that important paperwork done?

It’s time to take a stand. Literally. In this week’s TL;DR, we’ll discuss:

  • Why sitting more can hurt our health, even if we exercise
  • How we can sit less without killing our routine or buying expensive treadmill desks
  • How we can secretly exercise at our desks without looking awkward

1) Sitting Is The New Smoking — Even For Runners

Author: Selene Yeager

TL;DR: We’re dying by making a living at our desk job. And no one is safe (including you, Soul Cyclers). Just look at the stats:

  • In a 12-year study of 17,000+ Canadians, researchers found that people who sat for longer died younger — regardless of age, body weight, or how much they exercised.
  • A 2013 survey of nearly 30,000 women found that those who sat over nine hours a day were more depressed than those who sat fewer than six hours a day. The reason? Prolonged sitting reduces circulation, causing fewer feel-good hormones to reach your brain.
  • “Sitting time is emerging as a strong candidate for being a cancer risk factor in its own right,” says Neville Owen, Ph.D. Not to mention, according to Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care, inactivity is linked to 49,000 cases of breast cancer, 43,000 cases of colon cancer, 37,200 cases of lung cancer, and 30,600 cases of prostate cancer a year.

Okay, we get it. Sitting is bad. But it’s not our fault. While our ancestors worked the farms, we’re at work playing FarmVille. It begs the question: how do we sit less without killing our routines?

2) Why Sitting Is Killing You & 9 Things You Can Do About It

Author: Dr. Jordan Metzl

TL;DR: Fellow sloths of the world, rejoice. Here are some ways to fight the war on sitting:

  • Now walk it out. Finally, I understand that Soulja Boy song. An easy way to sit less is to take more walking meetings. Whether you go around the block or down the hallway, you’ll keep yourself more active and spark better idea flow.
  • Get the worst parking spot. A few extra minutes of walking to your office each day will add up. Park further away next time to burn a few more calories.
  • Miss your bus stop. On purpose, of course. Get off further away from your office to burn a few extra calories each day.

But what if you want to stay active right at your desk? And do it without being awkward?

3) Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work

Author: Emily Milam

TL;DR: I’ll admit it. I don’t recommend all 33 exercises. I’ve tried each at my desk and only included the ones where my co-workers didn’t think I was a weirdo (full disclosure: there are other reasons my co-workers think I’m a weirdo):

  • Seated Leg Raiser: While seated, straighten one leg and hold in place for five seconds. Then lower the leg back to the ground without letting the feet touch the floor. Alternate legs and repeat for 15 reps. For a deeper burn: loop a purse or briefcase strap over the ankle for added weight.
  • The Pencil Pinch: Roll back your shoulders until the shoulder blades are pinched together, like you’re pinching a pencil. Hold for 5-10 seconds, release, and repeat for 15 reps.
  • The Ab Squeeze: Take a deep breath and tighten your abs, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Stay squeezed for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 15 reps.

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This article originally appeared on Every Vowel.

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