Don't Take Your Desk Job Sitting Down

Standing desks might seem passé these days, but the reasoning behind them is not. Most office workers sit or recline for up to 11 hours a day, and our bodies were not built to take that kind of loafing. Getting more exercise into your routine doesn't have to be complicated, though — and a new program to promote it has a lot of public health success backing it up.

The extreme version of resisting "occupational sitting" is the treadmill desk, but most of us aren't ready to invest in equipment like that. Luckily Western University grad student Yoah Sui has developed an intervention to help us fend off preventable chronic health problems exacerbated by sedentary workdays. By using tailored messages delivered to your smartphone, Sui can remind you to take computer breaks, walk around your office more, and help you find the little ways to get you on your feet.

"It's human nature to stumble when trying to add new activities to a busy day, which is why diets and exercise resolutions sometimes fall flat," said Sui in a press release. "This study shows we can combat 'occupational sitting' not by adding a new activity but by sliding a substitute regimen into the place of an existing one."

He suggests a few different small changes to try, such as standing during phone calls, making multiple short trips to the water fountain or kitchen, and (particularly delightful if you're an Aaron Sorkin fan) taking your meetings on the go. Sui modeled his program on smoking cessation and seatbelt compliance efforts; if it takes off, not sitting all day could become as normal as buckling up.