Sitting has been called a major health risk, with some studies suggesting that it may be as bad as smoking. From diabetes to heart diseases and even premature death, a number of life-threatening diseases have been linked to sitting. Now, a new study has revealed that if you exercise for just 20 minutes per day, you could reverse the health risks of the modern sedentary lifestyle. The study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that “physical activity is particularly important for people who sit a lot.” While reducing your time of sitting is a good idea, that alone may not be enough. According to lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health 150 to 300 minutes per week — equivalent to around 20-40 minutes per day on average — appears to eliminate sitting risks. The dangers of sitting are particularly high for those who are least physically active groups – those doing under 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week. This should certainly serve as a wakeup call to all of us who spend so much time sitting in the office and our homes. Here are some things you can do right away to ensure you get about 20 minutes of physical activity:

Take the stairs: Throughout the day, you must make sure to take the stairs whenever possible. Did you know that stair climbing is an effective and relatively easy way to lose weight, tone your legs, get your heart pumping and burn calories? Maintain a consistent speed while climbing up or down the stairs to avail the maximum benefits of this exercise.

Walk to your home or office: Make it habit to walk at least one way to your home or office. If your workplace is far away from your home and you drive to work every day, park your car a few metres away so you are forced to walk a little. Did you know that walking for 20 to 30 minutes every day can help lower your risk of stroke, heart diseases and high blood pressure?

Stand up for at least 5 minutes every half an hour: Make it a point to stand for at least 5 minutes for every half an hour that you sit. This way you not only help stretch your leg muscles but prevent spasms. When you stand, try walking around a little and also do some stretches.