Always be moving: How to counteract the harmful effects of sitting down all day

Our modern sedentary lifestyles are actually slowly killing us

The human body isn't made to be stationary or sedentary, despite the habits of our modern lifestyles. We are made to move throughout the day and our constant habit of sitting has harmful effects on our health. Exercising more does help, but that can be counteracted by your 9-5 office job. What are the risks and how can you avoid them?

Research has linked prolonged sitting with various health concerns, including an increased risk of obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, one study found that adults who spent more than four hours a day in a stationary position had a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause and a whopping 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease. That's pretty serious. And spending a few hours a week at the gym or engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn't lower this risk.

The best way to reduce or avoid these risks is to be constantly moving, rather than always sitting still. One of these ways is to stand while working. Standing desks are all the rage now and there are plenty of options for you to pick from. You could also consider figuring our ways to walk during your typical work day. Turns out those TV walk and talk scenes aren't just a camera movement trope, but might have also helped the actors' health on the job. Maybe you can make your office feel more like The West Wing and host a few walking meetings.

Another way to counteract the effects of sitting is to set move reminders on your phone or computer. Some activity trackers even have these reminders built into their systems. If you get up and walk about once every hour, your health risks should greatly decrease. You could also consider parking farther away from your office building.

Do you email or message your colleagues throughout the day? Instead of hitting send, get up and walk over to their desk. It's even better if you have to do this several times throughout the day. If you schedule a lot of phone calls, pace during those meetings. Even just walking two feet one way and back will counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

This also doesn't end when you go home. Be wary of how your spend your evenings. Instead of just plopping down on the couch, consider going for a run or completing some small exercises inside your home. Even just sitting down for two hours a day can lead to harmful effects. To have a healthier life, you should always be up and moving.