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Sitting Too Much?

An increasingly long work week and technological advancements have all but removed the environment demanding constant physical activity. Consider this: We've become so sedentary that 30 minutes a day at the gym may not do enough to counteract the detrimental effects of eight, nine, or 10 hours of sitting. That's one big reason so many women still struggle with weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol woes despite keeping consistent workout routines.

In a recent study, researchers found that regardless of how much moderate to vigorous exercise participants did, those who took more breaks from sitting throughout the day had slimmer waists, lower BMIs (body mass indexes), and healthier blood fat and blood sugar levels than those who sat the most. In an extensive study of 17,000 people, Canadian researchers made it clearer: The longer you spend sitting each day, the more likely you are to die an early death—no matter how fit you are.

Increasing your daily non-exercise activity thermogenesis—or NEAT can make a huge difference. That's the energy (i.e., calories) you burn doing everything but exercise. So instead of shopping online, go shop at a mall (147 calories); cook at home rather than order in (128 more calories burned there); pace while talking on the phone (147 calories).

Shake things up throughout the day by interrupting your sedentary stints as often as possible. Stand up every half hour. If you have to sit for longer than that, take more extended and active breaks and move around for a few minutes before sitting back down.

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