Physical activity is one of the best things we can do for our bodies. According to the CDC, an adult needs 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week, and additionally, muscle strengthening activities 2 days per week.

For many of us, this is old news. Those who have sought help for back pain have also probably been told by a medical professional that physical activity is beneficial (of course, if you have a condition or injury, professionals will guide you on how to approach exercise safely and effectively).

What is shocking, for those of us who follow a diligent fitness routine, is that it is not enough. Most of us still spend too much time seated. Recent studies have concluded long periods of sitting, even if we are avid exercisers, increases risks for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Oh yeah, and if that is not bad enough, sitting too long is not the best for your spine, especially when we sit improperly.

Our bodies are not meant to be still, and they are not going to be happy as many of us lead lifestyles that require us to spend much of our week behind a desk for our jobs. It is of course not a practical option to give up work in the name of good health, so instead it is necessary to make your workday a little healthier by finding reasons to stand up and stop sitting! Your body, including your back, will thank you.

The following are a few practical suggestions on how to not stay seated too long during the work week:

  1. Set an alarm to get up every hour. Have an alarm by you that will remind you to get up from your desk. Maybe even use this time to work on another healthy habit and refill your cup of water during these breaks.

  2. Try doing some work while standing. Maybe you are glued to your desk and are swamped with work. Not to worry, just stand and continue your tasks uninterrupted. There are even fancy standing desks available to accommodate your health needs nowadays. Some people might even be lucky enough to have a work environment where treadmill desks are provided. Until we all have a workplace with that amenity, just try standing more.

  3. Encourage co-workers to get on board with you in having healthier habits at work. One way to do this is to have walking meetings or have a post lunch stroll around the building.

  4. Reject technology. This means don’t email, don’t call, but rather walk to that co-worker’s cubicle or office. A simple and easy trick to not stay attached to your seat anymore.