There’s an expression that I’ll always remember clearly from high school French: Metro, Boulot, Dodo. Directly translated, it means “commute, work, sleep,” but in essence, they’re talking about the depressing reality of people who live to work: Sit in a car or train, sit at work, and sleep—depressing, and according to study after study, also a good way to increase your chance of dying sooner. It’s no revelation that sitting at work all day is bad for your health, but another new study was released this week that confirms the risk of death increases the more we stay seated…even if they get a lot of exercise in the time that they don’t spend sitting down.
The study looked at over 200,000 Australians over the age of 45; while that’s a limited population, some of the stats are fairly shocking. Particularly this one:
Those who sat 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying in the next three years than people who sat less than four hours a day.
The upshot is that those who exercised five hours per week or more had a lower risk of death, but even accounting for several risk factors like age, general health and weight, they found that people who sat more were always more likely to die in the next three years.
So, one might ask how they’re supposed to halve the amount of time they spend sitting, when a lot of that time is spent at a desk, for work. The likely answer is, frankly, that you can’t. Yes, there are treadmill desks and standing desks. If you can use one, that’s great. But the reality for most of us is that we have to log quite a few hours in a chair in order to see a paycheck.
But don’t throw yourself a pity party just yet. There are still a lot of ways that most of us can get off our rear for at least a few more minutes, if not hours, per day. Here are 5 easy ways to spend less time sitting down: