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How to Sit Less and Move More: 3 Easy Hacks for a Less Sedentary Lifestyle



Science keeps trying to warn us: Sitting is terrible for you. Sedentary behavior is associated with a slew of health risks, from an increased chance for chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer to a potentially shorter life span, says study after study.

“When we’re seated, our bodies slip into ‘low power mode,’” explains Lindsey Benoit O’Connell, founder of The LAB Wellness. “Our muscles take a nap, fat burning slows, and calorie torching goes on break. This sets the stage for issues like unhealthy weight gain, mental health troubles, and aches and pains, which can all contribute to future health problems.” But there’s good news: Research suggests that finding reasons to move more throughout your day could be an antidote. Awesome, you may be thinking, but I don’t have time to add something else to my wellness to-do list!

“Even busy days have pockets of inactivity—finding those idle moments is like going on a treasure hunt where the prize is better health,” O’Connell says. We’ve created a three-week map for you. Each week, spend a few days trying the expert-backed “sit less” tactic. The goal is for them all to become part of your day-to-day life moving forward!


It’s easy to miss regular alarms, so surprise yourself into standing. Set an hourly alarm for random times like 12:41 and 1:43. When you get an alert, have a five-minute “movement snack,” says O’Connell. You could:

  • Have a one-song dance party Stretch
  • Refill your water bottle
  • Take a detour to the bathroom
  • Do jumping jacks, squats, or push-ups


“It’s about rewiring habits so movement is the natural focus,” says O’Connell.

Use a standing desk. Buy or request one from your company, or DIY one using sturdy materials like books. Try to stand for at least two hours a day. Take lunch on the go a few days a week—you’ll get in extra steps while you refuel.

Do afternoon chair yoga to boost circulation and mood. “Try simple poses like cat-cow and forward bends,” says Kat Ruiz, head of fitness and memberships at Gurney’s Resort & Seawater Spa in Montauk, NY.


Put an active spin on both downtime and everyday moments.

Move and groove. Try pairing audio with specific tasks—so maybe podcasts are the soundtrack for errands and upbeat tunes are for chores. TV Night = Game Night. “Write down phrases from favorite shows, movies, and sports, and attach an action to each,” O’Connell says. “When you hear something on the list, do the matching activity.” For example, when someone says “rose” on The Bachelor, do five squats, or for every touchdown scored while watching football, do your own crazy celebration.

Alyssa is a senior editor for the Hearst Health Newsroom, where she has written research-backed health content for Prevention, Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day since 2017. She has more than 13 years of reporting and editing experience and previously worked as research chief at Reader’s Digest, where she was responsible for the website’s health vertical as well as editing health content for the print magazine. She has also written for Chowhound,, Huffington Post and more.

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