Sitting is the New Smoking

Sitting is the New Smoking – Keep moving and get adjusted!

Check out this article and think twice before you sit!

It is common knowledge that “smoking is bad” (just ask any elementary school student), but did you know that “sitting is the new smoking” is a new mantra of the medical community?

As a society, we have become more health aware in recent years. The infomercials, search engine ads, and even the ads on our Facebook profiles are dominated by weight-loss miracles and skin treatments that promise to make you look and feel like a Disney princess. The irony of it all, is that we see MOST of these ads while planted firmly on our rear-ends in chairs ranging from “sitting on gravel would be a reprieve” to “I could never get rid of this chair because it is worn to my butt like a high quality pair of leather shoes”. But how many advertisements have you seen that say “Get off your butt! You’re welcome for the free advice”. I haven’t seen one. It’s a shame, really, because this is the best advice that many of us could receive in considering our personal health, and it doesn’t cost anything to do!

In an October 2012 article published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, J Lennert Veerman exposed startling statistics that show that every hour of sitting decreases life expectancy by approximately 22 minutes. Dr. Anup Kanodia from the Center for Personalized Health Care at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center sites this research and coins the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”. While an hour of sitting is said to decrease life expectancy by 22 minutes, each cigarette smoked is said to decrease life expectancy by 11 minutes.

Remember that 208 minute extended edition of Lord of the Rings you watched last weekend? By these calculations, you did your body as much good as you would have done by spending that time smoking SEVEN cigarettes!

But how can sitting POSSIBLY be as dangerous as smoking? Dr. Kanodia explains,

“In a little over 150 years, we have gone from a society that stood or walked for 90 percent of the waking day to one that sits for 60 percent. Most people are coming into work and leaving sicker…”

Think about your daily routine for a moment. You woke up, SAT DOWN to eat some breakfast, SAT in the car to drive to work, SAT at your desk for the next 8-9 hours with a SIT-DOWN lunch somewhere in there, you SAT in the car to drive home, then you SAT at the table for dinner, and later SAT in your favorite chair to relax and watch some tv and check your social media on your tablet. Pretty startling when you pick apart your day like that, isn’t it?

Dr. Kanodia continues,

“When you’re standing or moving around, your muscles contract. They’re moving around and insulin helps the body in terms of moving sugar from the blood into different cells. But, when you’re sitting, none of that happens. So, if you’re on a conference call or participating in a webinar, do yourself a favor and stand up…”

Sitting for too long decreases the enzyme lipoprotein lipase which is responsible for converting bad cholesterol (LDL) into good cholesterol (HDL) by 95 percent. This detrimental decrease of the enzyme increases risk of heart attack by 30 percent. Research published in the November 2012 Journal of Diabetologia revealed that people who spend the most time sitting found increases in cardiovascular events (147%), the risks of diabetes (112%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).

Let’s all make a commitment to stand more. You burn 100 calories an hour while sitting. That number jumps up by 50 percent to 150 calories an hour while you stand. If you stand up every half an hour for just one minute, you can burn 43 percent more energy throughout your day. Take THAT expensive miracle ads! Even those who exercise daily aren’t free from the dangers of sitting. Remember, if you are sitting for long periods of time, your body is suffering the effects. It’s time to make a change. Don’t get rid of your gym membership, but you might want to trade in your squatty office chair and get a standing desk.

5 Tips to Help you Sit Less and Stand More

  • Drink lot of fluids (eventually that will get you off of your chair and into the bathroom!)
  • Set a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to stand up every half hour (or talk a five minute walk every hour)
  • Stand during every phone call
  • Change your habits outside of work or the classroom to minimize sitting
  • Park on the far side of the parking lot (help your body and minimize dings in your doors!)

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