Is is true that sitting for too long is as bad as smoking?
There has been quite a bit of talk recently about how bad sitting is for us. Some people have even said that too much sitting is just as bad as smoking cigarettes. I’m not sure if that is true, but it does seem pretty clear that being more active overall is associated with better health. Just what are the risks of sitting too much?
- Increased blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Excess body fat around the waist
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- Increased risk of chronic pain
- Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Increased risk of death from certain types of cancer
Here are some things that you might do to try to decrease the amount of time you spend sitting every day.
- Find small activities that you can do moving rather than sitting whenever you have the chance, such as pacing back and forth when talking on the phone.
- Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes, either with a short period of standing and stretching or a quick walk around the office. Set a timer to remind yourself. These short breaks can also help you be more focused on your work for the remainder of day.
- Try using a standing desk, or use a high table or counter to improvise if necessary, for at least a part of your work day. Don’t just stand there though, try to move a little while you’re standing, even if it is just shifting from one leg to the other or moving back and forth.
- If you have a meeting with only a few colleagues at work, try having your meeting while walking, rather than sitting in a conference room or office.
- Instead of sending an email to a coworker, try walking over to talk to them.
- When at home, do something active while watching TV, such as walking on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, standing while folding some clothes, or doing some stretching exercises.
- Rather than sitting in a chair, try sitting on a stability ball at your desk or while watching TV. This forces you use your muscles to stay upright.
- Don’t forget to get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most days.
If you have any more questions just Ask Hanna, our health advisors are here to help.
Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor
Image: ©Shutterstock / DimaBerlin