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February 2022

Stressed and Sitting Too Much? Let’s Get Moving

You may want to read this standing up. On average, adults in the U.S. spend about 6 hours sitting per day, according to a study in JAMA. All that chair time is taking its toll on your health. Too much time spent sitting increases your risk for weight gain, diabetes, cancer, and more.

And if you experience a lot of stress, the problem is even worse. Chronic stress is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and obesity. Resorting to unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, or overeating to cope with stress can also put your well-being on the line.

A reason to move

A sedentary lifestyle combined with chronic stress is a recipe for illness. But you can do something about it. One of the best changes you can make is adding more physical activity to your life. Regular physical activity can:

  • Help you lose weight

  • Decrease your risk for heart disease and other health problems

  • Boost your mood

  • Help you live longer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends clocking at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, each week. They also recommend doing muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups two or more days per week. That’s your target, but moving more yields even greater health benefits.

Making it count

Given your busy schedule, 150 minutes of activity per week may seem like a lot. But it’s more manageable than you may think. You can divide this time into shorter sessions. Whether it’s 30 minutes or five minutes, every little bit makes a difference. So, you can break up your workouts into smaller chunks throughout your day such as in the morning, during lunchtime, and after work. You may even be able to sneak in a quick workout at your desk.

It’s important to find activities that you enjoy. This will make you more likely to stick with them. Any aerobic activity that raises your heart rate and makes you break a sweat counts. Some ideas for moderate-intensity activities include:

  • Brisk walking

  • Doing water aerobics

  • Riding a bike

  • Playing tennis

  • Dancing

  • Gardening and mowing the lawn

Sometimes, the hardest part is getting started. Once you make exercise a regular part of your life, you’ll start feeling better. Inviting family, friends, or coworkers to join may make you look forward to it even more.



Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2021
© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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