This Might Be the Answer to Too Much Sitting (And It's Not Exercise)

An extra workout won't cancel out a full day at your desk.

woman-sitting-at-conference-table
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It's no surprise that sitting isn't good for you—there's plenty of research linking too much time in your chair to bad effects on your liver, weight, brain, mental health, and even your lifespan. For those who don't have time for an extra trip to the gym—or who just don't want to wake up early in the morning—there's good news: more exercise might not be the cure for hours spent sitting at your desk. Rather, scientists say the antidote to all that chair time is much simpler—just stand up. 

To reach that conclusion, researchers from King's College London reviewed 38 strategies designed to reduce sitting time, and found that 60 percent of those strategies were "promising," including standing desks, encouragement to log sitting time, and prompts that remind people to stand up. All of the promising strategies had a commonality—they aimed to reduce sitting time instead of increase physical activity. From their findings, published in Health Psychology Review, they concluded that they best way to overall reduce sitting was to view it as its own "behavior change," and not tie it to the need for exercise.

"The importance of this study is not in showing that interventions can work, but in pointing out how they might work," study co-author Stuart Biddle said in a statement. "This is crucial if behavior is to be achieved more efficiently and effectively."

Of course, this isn't a free pass to write off exercise all together—regularly breaking a sweat has its own host of unique body and brain benefits.