Let's face it: when you're a "desk jockey," getting up throughout the day can be a real challenge. But new research once again tells us just how important it is to move on the regular. According to the British Medical Journal, reducing the amount of time you spend on your tush may extend your lifespan. How so? According to researchers, longevity and a healthy lifestyle have been linked to telomere length. The British Medical Journal study found that reducing sedentary activity appears to lengthen telomeres, which sit on the end of chromosomes and stop them from "fraying" or clumping together. Think of it this way: Telomeres play a role similar to the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces. The longer the telomere, the less chance chromosomes have from "fraying." Non-fraying chromosomes means better protected DNA storage, and better protected DNA storage means a longer life. "[Sitting] doesn't burn any calories", says Dr. Jonathan Rich, DO, internist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. "You'll have an atrophy type situation with your muscles. Muscles stay in one position until they get real stuff. There's also an increased risk for heart disease and heart attacks." "If you sit all day and then you exercise, even the exercise you get is not nearly as effective because you've been sitting all day," says Rice. But, there are little things you can do to help. He recommends a standing desk, and even uses one himself. "I've found that it keeps more awake. It keeps you more alert and more active." If getting a standing desk is just not possible for you, don't despair. "It's the little things that add up throughout the day," says Rice. Check out his 5 other get-moving tips: 1. Get up at least every hour. If you're in the office and you need to send someone email, get up and walk over to them instead. The face-to-face communication won't hurt you, we promise. 2. Take the steps to lunch instead of the elevator. 3. If you're on the phone, stand up, and take the call. Just make sure to do it in a quiet area, as to not distract other coworkers. 4. Park your car further away than you normally would and walk. Those extra steps in the morning and post-work will keep you alert and help you get your wheels moving for the next part of your day. 5. Get a pedometer and count your steps. Start a competition at work to see who can get the most steps. For the bosses: Consider offering a reward at the end. There's nothing like a little healthy in-office competition.
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