Is sitting the new smoking?

Is sitting the new smoking? I have heard this question quite a bit over the past year. There is no doubt science is starting to show that sitting is really bad for us, and our lives are becoming more and more sedentary. At Walker Tracker we work to help bring movement to the workplace, which can often be the biggest contributor to the amount people are sitting each day.

 

Recently I came across an article by Susan Scutti titled “Yes, sitting too long can kill you, even if you exercise” (find the article here) referencing a study that tracked not only how active the participants were, but also how frequently they were getting up and moving. The results? Long uninterrupted periods of sitting are really bad for us.

 

Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week. The article suggests we need similar guidelines for sitting, but more research needs to be done to determine just how often we should be getting up and moving, and for how long that movement should be

 

One finding of the study was, “people who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death.” Keith Diaz, the lead author of the new study and an associate research scientist in the Columbia University Department of Medicine, offered the following, “if you have a job or lifestyle where you have to sit for prolonged periods, the best suggestion I can make is to take a movement break every half hour. Our findings suggest this one behavior change could reduce your risk of death.”

 

So even if you make a point to hit the gym after work, it might not be enough to combat the hours you spent sitting during the day. Make a point to set a reminder to get up every thirty minutes or so to get those steps in! Not only will this help keep you healthier (and alive longer), but I bet you will see an increase in productivity and creativeness in your day as well. Check back for more on that in a future post…

4 Comments

  1. Carolina

    Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

    One study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment with those who logged more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with greater screen time had:

    A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause
    About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack
    The increased risk was separate from other traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking or high blood pressure.

    Sitting in front of the TV isn’t the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What’s more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk.

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