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Healtheuniversity > English > Diabetes College > Get Active > Active Living > Sit Less and Move More

Sit Less and Move More

Sitting increases your risk of getting diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Take action to sit less.

  • Stand up or walk around for 2 to 3 minutes for every 20 minutes of sitting.
  • Lower your total sitting time to less than 4 to 6 hours a day.
  • Switch to standing when doing regular activities like reading the newspaper, using the computer or meeting friends or family.

Most adults spend about 10 hours a day sitting down. 10 hours takes up most of the hours you are awake.

Sitting for long periods of time is not good for your health. Your body slowly changes the longer you sit. 

  • When you don't use your muscles, they get weak.
  • Sitting increases your risk of getting diseases, like heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes.

If you sit a lot, there are simple things you can do to change how long you sit for.

How Can I Sit Less?

The first step to change your sitting habits is exercise. Exercise improves your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But exercise is not enough. 

If you exercise but still sit often, you are still at risk for disease. You need to break up your sitting time.

  • Break up your sitting time slowly. Set small goals such as sitting less during your morning routine. 
  • Lower your total sitting time to less than 4 to 6 hours a day. Over time, it will be easy to sit less and move more.

Stand or move instead of sitting

  • Switch to standing when you:
    • work at your desk (or in meetings)
    • take public transit
    • talk (or text) on the telephone
    • watch television
    • use a computer
    • read the newspaper
    • fold clothes
    • meet with friends and family
  • Park further from work so you walk a bit farther to work.
  • Use the stairs more rather than elevators and escalators.
  • Drink more water (unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake) while you work so you take regular bathroom breaks.
  • Set an alarm on your computer or phone to remind you to get up and stand or move around every 20 minutes.
Last Reviewed: 10/16/2016