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Get off your butt: Sitting less can help slow your body's aging process, finds a new study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Here are 5 ways to get moving.

Ellen Seidman
September 17, 2014

Get off your butt: Sitting less can help slow your body's aging process, finds a new study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. I read about it during my train commute. I hadn't gotten a seat—but suddenly, that was a good thing.

Researchers have long known sitting isn't good for your health—but now they've figured out why, reports The New York Times. Swedish scientists found that in a group of study subjects, those who sat for the least amount of time had longer telomeres—itty-bitty caps on the ends of DNA strands that shorten as cells age. Obesity and illness can speed up their shrinkage, while healthier lifestyles may help maintain their length.

At work, I can happily remain glued to a computer screen for hours on end. Forget my poor telomeres; this has wreaked havoc on my neck, my lower back, and my waistline. Over the years, I've come up with strategies to help me be less sedentary when I'm at my desk:

• I set an alarm on my Stand App to go off every hour and remind me to get moving. The app also includes a bunch of desk exercises that I never bother to do but, hey, at least I'm getting up.

• When I read something really interesting, or want to tell a colleague something about a work project, I'll jump up to discuss it with them in person instead of emailing. Bonus points for face time!

• If I head to the bathroom, I do a loop around the entire office.

• At lunchtime, I force myself to head outside instead of just hitting the cafeteria.

• Every once in a while, I turn on my Pandora Katy Perry Radio station, jump on my desk and dance!

Well, OK, not that. My tactics may not be exciting, but they work. You're welcome, telomeres.

Want some crowd-sourced inspiration to get moving? Commit to doing a quickie exercise every day, take a picture or video and post it to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtag #StandUpforHealth. Follow us at instagram.com/healthmagazine.

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