Starting from square one in your fitness and weight loss journey can be . . . daunting, to say the least. Even with beginner workouts and eating plans, if you're truly starting from the ground up, the first step is to just get your body used to moving more.
With that in mind, POPSUGAR asked John Morton, MD, weight loss expert and chief of bariatric surgery at Stanford University, what a good strategy is if you're looking to start losing weight. His solution was simple but effective: stand up from a chair at least 30 times a day.
This is especially great for people who aren't physically able to walk a lot, Dr. Morton said. It's still beneficial but won't make quite as much of a difference if you're already active; if your body isn't ready for that more intense exertion, though, this simple movement is a good starting point. Standing up from a seated position gets you moving, which burns calories, and it "helps build up both your leg muscles as well as your core." Try it right now and see for yourself: when you stand, you tighten your abs and glutes, and use your quads and hamstrings to thrust your body upwards, similar to a squat.
Thirty times a day might sound like a lot, but you can space your standing throughout the day by setting reminders on your phone or computer. If you stand up and sit back down three times per hour — every 20 minutes or so — during an eight-hour workday, you can check off 24 out of 30 recommended standing breaks.
"It's a great place to start," Dr. Morton said. Once you strengthen the muscles, you can work up to walking or other kinds of exercises. And even if you already work out regularly, standing up at least once an hour can activate your muscles, burn calories, and help you loosen up. Dr. Morton confirmed what you've probably been hearing, which is that "sitting is the new smoking" — in other words, "being sedentary is really harmful for us." The more you can move your body throughout the day, even if that's just standing up and sitting back down again, the better results you'll see, in terms of losing weight, building muscle, and feeling better overall.