News & Articles

← Return to Articles

Sitting is the New Smoking

05.04.21 | Health and Wellness | Hub | by Amy Beyer

    Tight hips, sore back, legs asleep, yawning and thinking about a sugary treat to get your energy up?  Let me guess...you’ve been sitting all day.  Sitting has become the new norm in our virtual worlds and unfortunately it is taking a big toll on our health.  In fact, sitting has been called the new smoking.  Read that again - SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING! 

    For decades we were taught the dangers of smoking to our health and longevity and now this danger comes in the form of what many of us are doing while in work meetings, answering emails, taking classes, driving, etc.  And that does not even take into account leisure time spent watching tv, reading, scrolling on our phones, eating, etc.  According to getamericastanding.org, the average American sits for 10 hours per day.  Sitting more than 4 hours per day doubles the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and weight gain along with a multitude of other conditions related to mobility.  It is imperative that we find more ways to move every day to counteract the cumulative effects of hours of sitting. 

    To get out of your seat try the following strategies: 

    1. A standing desk.  Many employers are now offering these for employees as a great alternative to the traditional desk.  Take advantage of these new desks (most are adaptable and can be raised and lowered as needed).  They are also widely available and great for home offices.  Other options at home can be a raised countertop or table for answering emails, students taking classes, etc. 
    2. Set a timer.  Set a timer on a clock or phone across the room, house or office and every time it beeps, you have to get out of your seat to turn it off.  Or set a time and  every time it beeps you have to walk, do squats & sit ups, or go up and down the stairs for a few minutes.
    3. Walk breaks.  This is a simple, but very effective strategy for not only boosting your physical health, but mental health as well.  Build walk breaks into your day.  Just 10-30 minutes is a great start for getting outside, moving your body and taking in some fresh air.  You can even take a phone call while walking if you need to stay plugged in.  If not, just enjoy the sounds of nature or throw in some headphones and catch up on a sermon you missed from Pastor Chris.
    4. Stairs.  Take the stairs.  At home, at work, at the doctor’s office.  Stairs are one of the most effective and easily accessible tools for working your body.  Challenge yourself to always use the stairs and if you need something from another level at home, take multiple trips to get some extra steps in.
    5. Exercise.  This one may seem obvious, but the more you are sitting the more intentional you need to be about scheduling time for exercise.  Exercise not only gets you moving, but releases growth hormones, testosterone, thyroid hormone, and endorphins while reducing cortisol and insulin resistance. 

    Reducing chronic inactivity is essential. Being active throughout the day is what keeps you healthy.  Our bodies were built to move.  If you move well, you think, feel & live well.