Is sitting the new smoking?

Sitting for long periods of time could increase your risk of disease and even death.

Since there are no positives that come from smoking when the negative impact of sitting is compared to smoking it is unnerving. Our bodies are designed for movement to make us successful hunters and gathers but modern technological advancements have changed our world and our living environments to such an extent that many of us often find ourselves sitting for more than 9.5 hours a day. 

Folks sitting at work, at home or behind the wheel, end up being at more of a risk for:

An interesting infographic showed some additional statistics from many resources:

  • Sitting six for hours or more increases risk of death by 40 percent even if you exercise regularly. Reducing the hours by three can reduce these risks.
  • Sitting expends almost no energy (calorie usage).
  • People who sit for more than three hours are more likely to die of heart disease.
  • Sitting puts your body in shutdown and fat storage mode.

Just like quitting smoking can reverse some of the damage smoking does, starting to make changes in daily physical activity can make a difference in personal health. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take breaks at work to stretch (possibly in your chair) and/or go for a quick walk around your building.
  • Check out stand up desks, or make your own.
  • Remember to start out for shorter periods if you’re not accustomed to standing, wear cushioned shoes or stand on a soft mat.
  • Take stairs instead of elevators.
  • Choose parking spots farther away.
  • When driving for long periods, get out and stretch, jog in place or try some jumping jacks.

Mayo clinic had some additional ideas.

Michigan State University Extension’s Health and Nutrition Institute has many programs to help the public with nutrition and physical activity advice and goals. Experts from MSU Extension make it possible to make your lifestyle healthy for the long haul. Introducing daily physical activity offers numerous benefits and can make a positive difference in your life.

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