A lot of people are still shocked when they hear just how detrimental and damaging a sedentary lifestyle can be. Even for people who regularly workout for an hour or so a day several times a week, it may not be enough to combat these risks.

A sedentary lifestyle isn’t uncommon, particularly because so many people work in jobs that require them to be tethered to their desk and their computer. In a sedentary lifestyle, a person doesn’t receive regular amounts of physical activity.

The CDC’s recommendation is that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise several times a week. It’s also recommended that people walk the equivalent of 5 miles a day.

Despite those recommendations, an estimated 60 to 85% of people in the world don’t meet these standards. The scariest part of all of this is that a lack of physical activity is the fourth leading risk factor for death throughout the world.

The risks of a sedentary lifestyle include an increased chance of developing certain cancers, anxiety, and depression. Too little physical activity can increase the chance for certain cardiovascular disease to develop, and it’s linked to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.

The following are some ways that even when working a sedentary job, people can avoid the risks of this lifestyle.

Wear a Fitness Tracker

Fitness trackers are no longer looking like a fleeting trend. According to Ian Blair of the mobile development company Buildfire, it’s estimated that there will be 560 million wearable devices by 2021.

These are one of the best ways to avoid being sedentary because they show users the reality of how much activity they are doing each day.

A fitness tracker will measure steps and help people be accountable to meet the goal of 10,000 a day. Many fitness trackers also have automated reminders that let wearers know when they should get up and move around (for example, every hour).

Fitness trackers can also be used to measure how many calories are consumed and burned, and users can set them up to automatically track their workouts as well.

Use Fitness Technology

While regular exercise isn’t the only way to beat a sedentary life, it is helpful. Unfortunately, people are often intimidated by the prospect of joining a gym or going to a group fitness class.

Overcome this by taking advantage of the fitness-related technology that’s available. You can stream classes and even get personal training on your mobile device.

There are online fitness programs that provide interpersonal interaction and accountability without requiring that you step foot in a gym.

Do Chores Around the House

If you are someone who wears a fitness tracker, you’ve likely noticed how dramatically your steps and activities go up on the days you’re cleaning the house or doing chores.

Many people don’t realize that one of the reasons we’ve moved toward a more sedentary lifestyle is because we have conveniences that will help us do less work around the house, or we outsource this work.

If you can spend a few hours a week cleaning or doing yard work, you’re going to improve your physical activity levels and maybe even save yourself some money at the same time.

Make Small Changes At the Office

It’s not uncommon to be sedentary at work, and in some ways, you might not be able to change it, but there are small things you can do. One example is rather than making a phone call or an email to someone else in the office, go ahead and walk to talk to them.

Even if you don’t wear a fitness tracker, you should set an alarm to get up every hour and stretch, maybe walk to the break room or bathroom, or just move around a bit.

Another option is to pace while you talk on the phone.

If you work from home, you have even more options to keep yourself moving. For example, every hour get up and jump rope for a couple of minutes, or do some ab exercises. If you’re working in your home office you can even take your pet outside for a few minutes so they can get some exercise and you can as well.

Sometimes this incremental approach to exercise is easier for people than feeling like they have to hit the gym for an hour every day.

If you start making small additions to your daily routine, you’ll be surprised at how much they add up.

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