Take a seat. Sounds harmless, right? Wrong. In a recent study done by JAMA Cardiology, people who sit between 6-8 hours a day have a 13% higher risk of heart disease and early death. And if you are sitting for more than 8 hours a day, the risk is increased to 20%. “It is a scary realization when you begin to track how much sitting you do throughout the day, especially for those who have desk jobs,” says Dian Griesel, author of TurboCharged: The Silver Disobedience Edition. In her book, Griesel notes that sitting for long periods of time has also been shown to be an independent risk factor for chronic disease including arthritis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and mood disorders including depression. But as you know, sit happens. “We are not going to stop sitting. But what we need to focus on is how to counteract the damages of sitting,” says Griesel.

Minute to Win It  

Life is all about give and take. This way of thinking can be used for how you view sitting. “For every sixty minutes you sit, get up and do 1 minute of movement,” says Griesel. And by movement, Griesel doesn’t mean anything crazy but simple movements that can literally be done at your desk, in your living room, or even on an airplane! In TurboCharged, she dedicates an entire chapter to movements that can be done with body weight or dumbbells, that readers can pick and choose from to make their minute exercise routines.

Think Outside the Chair

When you are not sitting be mindful of what you can do to better strengthen your body. “Stop looking for a good parking spot and park far away to get your steps in. Squeeze your buttocks muscles while you wait for your coffee to brew or do leg raises to the side and rear. Suck your stomach in tightly on the grocery store line or while sitting in traffic,” says Griesel. In her book she lists many ways to easily incorporate movement into your day that will help strengthen the body. “You might actually want (and deserve!) to take a seat once you start adding extra movement into your daily routine,” says Griesel.

Walk it Out

The benefits of walking are plentiful, and it is Griesel’s gold standard for exercise. Griesel incorporates walking as a sole form of aerobic exercise, rather than beating up her joints and muscles with extended and physically taxing jogs or bike rides. In her book she discusses the benefits of walking and provides readers with a TurboCharged Walking Program. “When I know I am going to be sitting for an extended period of time, I make it a priority to walk that day,” says Griesel.

“While the JAMA study was not the first and likely won’t be the last study on the risks of prolonged sitting,” says Griesel. “It is a great reminder for us to check-in with ourselves and reevaluate what we are doing and how we can do better to live our best lives!”