Is Sitting Worse than Smoking?

Think about how much time you spend sitting each day. In the car? On public transportation? At your desk? And don’t forget about the time you spend on the couch watching TV or reading each evening. Be honest, you’re probably sitting down right now as you’re reading this!

You probably spend a lot of time sitting. Well, isn’t just you. It’s most Americans! According to a recent study, between 50 and 70% of people spend 6 or more hours sitting each day. Maybe this isn’t surprising to you, but did you know how bad it is for your health?

Sitting Your Life Away
The World Health Organization identified inactivity as the 4th leading cause of death around the world. And, recent research shows that sitting for long periods of time raises your risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, certain forms of cancer, obesity and may shorten your life span.

Sitting might even be worse for your health than smoking. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that for every hour that people spend sitting and watching TV, 22 minutes are cut from their life span. Meanwhile, smokers’ lives are cut short by 11 minutes per cigarette. Wow! What’s even more disturbing is that the hour you spend running or at the gym each day may not reverse the damaging effects of sitting all day.
 Get Up. Get Moving.
These are startling facts. But, the good news is you can fight “sitting disease” by doing small amounts of activity throughout the day. Here are some ways you can add activity into your day:

  • Do you take the train or bus to work? Stand instead of sit.
  • It’s great to focus on your work, but set a timer for every half hour or every hour to remind yourself to get up from your desk and walk around.
  • Instead of email a co-worker, walk over to them.
  • Stand up or walk around when you’re on the phone.
  • Choose the stairs over the elevator whenever possible.
  • Limit the amount of TV you watch each night.
  • Do some activity such as walk/jog on the treadmill while you watch TV.

These may seem too simple, but small steps can really make a difference (pun intended). Do you have any other ideas of how you can add activity into your day? Share your ideas below! We would love to hear them!

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