25 Ways to Stand Up More Without a Standing Desk

We’ve all heard the news: sitting down is incredibly bad for you. The average American spends over 6 hours a day in a chair, but sitting too much is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers, among other illnesses.

Unlike most of our modern health dangers, a healthy diet and moderate exercise don’t protect you from the risks of prolonged sitting. Fortunately, the cure is simple: just stand up. But many tips on the Internet regarding how to stand more revolve around standing desks, which are prohibitively expensive and impractical for most. So we’ve got several tips to help you stand more – no standing desks involved.

1. Don’t stand too much. Standing all day is also bad for you since it strains your heart and legs. The key is what ergonomists refer to as “postural rotation” – sit some, stand some, repeat. Don’t go to extremes in either direction.

2. Invest in comfortable shoes. This one is more for the Wonder Women, but nobody expects you to stand comfortably when you’re staggering around in 5-inch heels. Invest in a pair of comfortable shoes you can stand in for more than 5 minutes without getting blisters.

3. Watch your posture. It’s bad enough that we’re sitting all day, but slouching at your desk makes it even worse. Avoid back pain and other health risks by sitting and standing up straight, as described in this guide.

4. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. The 20-20-20 rule asks you to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. It’s designed for eyestrain, so just adjust it to work for sitting. Every 20 minutes, walk 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

5. Take advantage of technology. You spend all day on your computer and smartphone, so put it to good use. Set a simple timer to follow Step 2, or try any of the several anti-sitting apps available. You can also get a pedometer to track how many steps you take each day. Start a friendly competition with a co-worker.

6. Get a Wii. Is most of your free time spent playing Call of Duty? Make your video gaming sessions healthier by getting a Wii. You’ll get all the fun of video games while adding some physical activity.

7. Use your commute wisely. If you take the bus or subway, stand up for all or most of the commute – even if you’re exhausted. When the weather’s nice, get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way. Do you drive to work? Park at the far end of the parking lot.

8. Replace your chair. Rolling chairs are fun to play with, but they encourage you to roll to places you’d normally walk to. Replace it with a stationary chair and stand up to get the stapler at the end of the hall.

9. Put in some face time. How often do you email co-workers who sit a few cubicles away? Keep the jokes on the Internet, but go visit when you have something important to discuss. This will probably be more efficient and will reduce unnecessary emails.

10. Fidget. If you really can’t bear the thought of leaving your chair, start fidgeting. It can help combat the risks of sitting still.

11. Meet on the go. Your co-workers are likely aware of the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. So suggest a walking meeting when practical, like with brainstorming sessions.

12. Watch TV smartly. The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day, which is way more sitting than is healthy. But there are ways to enjoy TV that still encourage standing up. Watch TV only while you stand, or hide your remote so you have to rise to change the channel. Preset the timer on your TV so that it turns off automatically in an hour. Can’t give up the boob tube? Force yourself to stand up and run errands during commercial breaks. You can also do this with video games, standing up after the end of each level or match.

13. Take ‘smoking breaks.’ While we would never suggest taking up smoking, smokers do get up frequently throughout the workday. Use the smokers in your office as a cue and join them outside. If you’re worried about the temptation to light up or the dangers of secondhand smoke, walk around the building instead.

14. Stand at the bar. Standing up doesn’t have to be limited to the workday. Stand at the bar during happy hour, and frequent crowded places where you can’t sit. Take up a standing barroom activity like darts or billiards. And try removing chairs at your next cocktail party – all that standing will encourage more mingling amongst guests.

15. Keep office supplies far away. While it’s annoying to stand up every time you need a pen, keep some office supplies farther away than others. If you can, move your trash can, recycling bin and printer far enough away so that you have to walk to them.

16. Hang out with children. Children are incredibly active. Hang out with them and you won’t sit still for long. Don’t have children of your own? Babysit for a friend. You could also volunteer with kids – try coaching an elementary school sports team.

17. Have fun standing. Select more active options when you meet friends or go on a date. Take advantage of spring, grab a cup of coffee and walk through the local park. Weather not co-operating? Hit an ice-skating rink or wander through a museum. If you want something a bit fancier, go to a gallery opening in your town, since they often have free wine and hors d’oeuvres. Or get standing-room only tickets to events if you’re on a budget.

18. Spend time with canines. Having a dog forces you to get outside and walk for at least a few minutes each day. But don’t adopt Fido solely for his exercise benefits! Walk a friend’s dog or volunteer to walk the dogs at an animal shelter.

19. Convince your office to get cordless phones. Have those long phone meetings while you stand or pace around the office.

20. Institute a ‘clean desk’ policy. Is your desk so covered in papers you can barely see its surface? Start clearing it off at the end of each workday, and make sure you stand as you sort through papers. You’ll feel more in control of your workspace, and you’ll make a great impression on your boss, too.

21. Change how you read your mail. Too many people check their mail from their cars. Head to the mailbox on foot and sort the mail while you’re there. It adds a few extra minutes of standing and keeps any junk mail out of your house.

22. Leave your cell phone in one place.  Take your phone off vibrate and leave it in a designated location in your house. When you need your phone, go to it, instead of carrying it around with you. Who knows? You could even break your cell phone addiction.

23. Listen to books on tape. Reading is excellent for you, but curling up in an armchair with a great book doesn’t help your too-much-sitting situation. Listen to audiobooks while you run errands.

24. Drink water. Keep a large bottle of water at your desk and re-fill it frequently. This will ensure several trips to the water cooler and the bathroom while keeping you hydrated.

25. Stick to it. Have you ever noticed how tired you get waiting in line? That’s partially because you’re so used to sitting that standing is physically exhausting. When you start incorporating more standing in your life, you’ll probably feel quite tired at first. But keep at it! You’ll become accustomed to your new lifestyle soon enough, and will reap the benefits of standing up more.

How do you force yourself to stand up? Did we miss your favorite tips? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Photo Credit: kelly cree via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

We’ve all heard the news: sitting down is incredibly bad for you. The average American spends over 6 hours a day in a chair, but sitting too much is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers, among other illnesses.

Unlike most of our modern health dangers, a healthy diet and moderate exercise don’t protect you from the risks of prolonged sitting. Fortunately, the cure is simple: just stand up. But many tips on the Internet regarding how to stand more revolve around standing desks, which are prohibitively expensive and impractical for most. So we’ve got several tips to help you stand more – no standing desks involved.

1. Don’t stand too much. Standing all day is also bad for you since it strains your heart and legs. The key is what ergonomists refer to as “postural rotation” – sit some, stand some, repeat. Don’t go to extremes in either direction.

2. Invest in comfortable shoes. This one is more for the Wonder Women, but nobody expects you to stand comfortably when you’re staggering around in 5-inch heels. Invest in a pair of comfortable shoes you can stand in for more than 5 minutes without getting blisters.

3. Watch your posture. It’s bad enough that we’re sitting all day, but slouching at your desk makes it even worse. Avoid back pain and other health risks by sitting and standing up straight, as described in this guide.

4. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. The 20-20-20 rule asks you to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. It’s designed for eyestrain, so just adjust it to work for sitting. Every 20 minutes, walk 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

5. Take advantage of technology. You spend all day on your computer and smartphone, so put it to good use. Set a simple timer to follow Step 2, or try any of the several anti-sitting apps available. You can also get a pedometer to track how many steps you take each day. Start a friendly competition with a co-worker.

6. Get a Wii. Is most of your free time spent playing Call of Duty? Make your video gaming sessions healthier by getting a Wii. You’ll get all the fun of video games while adding some physical activity.

7. Use your commute wisely. If you take the bus or subway, stand up for all or most of the commute – even if you’re exhausted. When the weather’s nice, get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way. Do you drive to work? Park at the far end of the parking lot.

8. Replace your chair. Rolling chairs are fun to play with, but they encourage you to roll to places you’d normally walk to. Replace it with a stationary chair and stand up to get the stapler at the end of the hall.

9. Put in some face time. How often do you email co-workers who sit a few cubicles away? Keep the jokes on the Internet, but go visit when you have something important to discuss. This will probably be more efficient and will reduce unnecessary emails.

10. Fidget. If you really can’t bear the thought of leaving your chair, start fidgeting. It can help combat the risks of sitting still.

11. Meet on the go. Your co-workers are likely aware of the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. So suggest a walking meeting when practical, like with brainstorming sessions.

12. Watch TV smartly. The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day, which is way more sitting than is healthy. But there are ways to enjoy TV that still encourage standing up. Watch TV only while you stand, or hide your remote so you have to rise to change the channel. Preset the timer on your TV so that it turns off automatically in an hour. Can’t give up the boob tube? Force yourself to stand up and run errands during commercial breaks. You can also do this with video games, standing up after the end of each level or match.

13. Take ‘smoking breaks.’ While we would never suggest taking up smoking, smokers do get up frequently throughout the workday. Use the smokers in your office as a cue and join them outside. If you’re worried about the temptation to light up or the dangers of secondhand smoke, walk around the building instead.

14. Stand at the bar. Standing up doesn’t have to be limited to the workday. Stand at the bar during happy hour, and frequent crowded places where you can’t sit. Take up a standing barroom activity like darts or billiards. And try removing chairs at your next cocktail party – all that standing will encourage more mingling amongst guests.

15. Keep office supplies far away. While it’s annoying to stand up every time you need a pen, keep some office supplies farther away than others. If you can, move your trash can, recycling bin and printer far enough away so that you have to walk to them.

16. Hang out with children. Children are incredibly active. Hang out with them and you won’t sit still for long. Don’t have children of your own? Babysit for a friend. You could also volunteer with kids – try coaching an elementary school sports team.

17. Have fun standing. Select more active options when you meet friends or go on a date. Take advantage of spring, grab a cup of coffee and walk through the local park. Weather not co-operating? Hit an ice-skating rink or wander through a museum. If you want something a bit fancier, go to a gallery opening in your town, since they often have free wine and hors d’oeuvres. Or get standing-room only tickets to events if you’re on a budget.

18. Spend time with canines. Having a dog forces you to get outside and walk for at least a few minutes each day. But don’t adopt Fido solely for his exercise benefits! Walk a friend’s dog or volunteer to walk the dogs at an animal shelter.

19. Convince your office to get cordless phones. Have those long phone meetings while you stand or pace around the office.

20. Institute a ‘clean desk’ policy. Is your desk so covered in papers you can barely see its surface? Start clearing it off at the end of each workday, and make sure you stand as you sort through papers. You’ll feel more in control of your workspace, and you’ll make a great impression on your boss, too.

21. Change how you read your mail. Too many people check their mail from their cars. Head to the mailbox on foot and sort the mail while you’re there. It adds a few extra minutes of standing and keeps any junk mail out of your house.

22. Leave your cell phone in one place.  Take your phone off vibrate and leave it in a designated location in your house. When you need your phone, go to it, instead of carrying it around with you. Who knows? You could even break your cell phone addiction.

23. Listen to books on tape. Reading is excellent for you, but curling up in an armchair with a great book doesn’t help your too-much-sitting situation. Listen to audiobooks while you run errands.

24. Drink water. Keep a large bottle of water at your desk and re-fill it frequently. This will ensure several trips to the water cooler and the bathroom while keeping you hydrated.

25. Stick to it. Have you ever noticed how tired you get waiting in line? That’s partially because you’re so used to sitting that standing is physically exhausting. When you start incorporating more standing in your life, you’ll probably feel quite tired at first. But keep at it! You’ll become accustomed to your new lifestyle soon enough, and will reap the benefits of standing up more.

How do you force yourself to stand up? Did we miss your favorite tips? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Photo Credit: kelly cree via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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