Whether at work or at school, sitting for long periods of time is something all students can attest to. But what may seem like a harmless, almost inevitable, habit might be slowly impairing our health with each passing day.

The amount of time a person sits during the day is associated with higher risks of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and death — according to a review study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2015. More so, all of these health effects were associated with people who actually exercise on the regular, too.

This is just one study among many that speaks to the dangers of staying sedentary for too long. A similar study published in 2014 by the Conference Board of Canada and ParticipAction stated that sitting is becoming the “new smoking.”

But how do we rectify something that we are forced to do in our school and work lives? There are many online resources outlining tips to stay active throughout the day, and we’ve compiled 10 of the most practical for you to integrate in your daily routine.

  1. Take walks throughout the day, whether to use the washroom or get some water. Walk around for a few minutes every half-hour.
  2. Take the stairs, as opposed to an elevator.
  3. Walk across the hall to talk to a co-worker or friend, instead of sending a text or email.
  4. Organize your work, rest or study area so that you have to stand and walk across the room now and again. If everything is in your reach, it’s less likely that you’ll move around.
  5. Elevate your work station so that you have to stand while doing work, as opposed to sitting constantly.
  6. Track your movements. Step counters on smartphones or wearable devices can let you know how you are doing in each given day. Don’t get too obsessed with numbers though!
  7. Bike or walk to school or work if it’s feasible. If you commute from far away, consider getting off the bus a stop earlier or parking a little further so you’re forced to walk more.
  8. Perfect your posture. Don’t slouch while you sit, ensure your neck is straight and your screen is around eye-level.
  9. Stretch when you can. It doesn’t have to be an entire yoga session, but taking a few minutes to stretch at your desk can really help.
  10. Get creative. If you’re studying for long amounts of time, consider doing it while you walk around your workspace or neighbourhood. If you have a meeting, schedule it so that you’re walking around with your partner. Plan to meet with a friend at a coffee shop. It might even help you concentrate better!

By Radiyah Chowdhury