9 clever ways to sit less: feel healthier, look better and live longer

sit less

I sit down for work. A lot. Apart from this humble little blog you’re reading right here, I also work as an editor, where I sit in a chair and type away while blinking into a computer screen. Sometimes I interview people or go to meetings (all of which involve sitting), but mostly I do this. I like it but, like my children, it’s slowly killing me. I need to sit less.

How about you? Do a lot of sitting?

You’ve probably heard that the increasingly sedentary lifestyle we are leading, especially in offices, is leading to all sorts of afflictions, ranging from a big arse to all sorts of cancers. (If you want the full run down of how awful sitting is for you, check out Life Hack.) But how do we cut the sitting around when we have so much to do at our desks?

I’m glad you asked. Here’s 9 ideas to get you moving throughout the day. And when you live to be 98, I expect a thank you note.

  1. Take phone meetings with a headset and walk around. Unless you need to be sitting at your desk and accessing important files, go walking. Even if you do need to access stuff, you can stand up and move around. Because I work from home a lot, I like to hang out washing or tidy the kids’ toys when I’m taking phone meetings. Shit gets done and my arse ain’t numb.
  2. Go somewhere for lunch that isn’t where you work. If you’re working from home, walk to a nearby café. If you work in an office, walk to the park or the sandwich shop a few blocks away. It all helps, dude.
  3. Go visiting. If you work in an office, don’t email Beryl from accounts about your erroneous payslip. Get off your rump and go see her. Not only will you be moving more and stagnating less, you will have a better relationship with Beryl, so you pay will be more likely to be correct next time. I remember reading once that people who get up and walk around the office to talk to others are the ones who get promoted more, because they have better relationships*.
  4. Create multiple workstations. This is the shit that will save you, for real. You don’t even need lots of room. You just need a decent desk with computer that has been ergonomically checked. Then you need either a higher bench (I use my kitchen), or at work you can put a milk crate or box on your desk and cover it in fabric, so you can stand and type for a bit. And then, sometimes, you can sit cross-legged on the floor – maybe when you’ve got a document to read or a meeting with a 5 year old. But you might want to start wearing pants to work. Cross-legged sitting + pencil skirt = loads of meeting invitations for all the wrong reasons.
  5. Get up every hour. Set a timer to go off at 10 minutes to each hour, and get up and stretch, go make a cup of tea, go and see Beryl, or whatever. Just move, 10 minutes out of every 60 will make a huge difference to your day. You’ll feel better for it, I promise you.
  6. Get a Fitbit or step counter of some sort. When you are aiming for a grand walking total every day, it’s amazing how motivated you can be to fit in a few extra steps. 10,000 is a lot, you know, you need to move that body.
  7. Take a walking meeting, or a standing meeting. Either way, the message is clear: meet on your feet, people.
  8. Drink more water. Drinking = peeing. Peeing = getting up from your desk and walking to the bathroom. Unless you have a shewee hidden under your desk, in which case you are super committed to not getting up. I don’t think I can help you.
  9. Get a treaddesk. If you’re very rich, or you have a boss who is either awesome or you’re sleeping with (or both if planets are aligned), you can get yourself a treaddesk. They are awesome and some say they will save the universe. They’re mega expensive, but then, how much is your life (and your arse) worth, hmmmm? Our mate Mia had a go at turning a regular treadmill into a treaddesk a while ago, and she thought it was pretty grand. You could always try that.

*I have no way of proving this and I have no idea where I read it. But trust me it’s probably sort of true.


Do you sit a lot for work? Has it caused you any health problems? Do you have any other tips to share?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • Yes, I’m constantly on my ample arse at work! I have a bung back (and neck), so I’m forever getting up and walking around and stretching and just doing anything and everything I possibly can to move around regularly. It’s so important to get out of the office at lunchtime – not just for your body, but for your mind (and sanity) too.

  • I love this sentence “Shit gets done and my arse ain’t numb”. Hilarious!

    I’ve realised lately that I was sitting too much, sometimes not leaving the house as I work from home. The lack of movement and how it could affect my health starting scaring me.

    So now, I move more ! (Going down the stairs instead of the lift, exercising for 10 mn every morning, walking more). I’m feeling so much better !

    Those tips are gold!

  • I sit. I sit real good. My husbie stands at work – he has one of those wanky stand-up desks and he hovers over his colleague like a strict principal. And his back is great. I need to get me one of those! Sometimes I sit on the fit ball, until I can’t take it any longer. I also use one of those annoying timer programs that dings at me every half an hour and makes my computer not work for 5 minutes so I am forced to take a break. I get up and do housework. x

Leave a Reply