Sedentary Lifestyles – Is Sitting the New Smoking?

man tired at computer screen

Sedentary lifestyle getting you down?

Have you heard? Sitting is the new smoking….

I am not sure where this tagline started, but it sure does get your attention. Dr. James Levine from Mayo Clinic at  Arizona State University is credited with the mantra and he has lots of research to prove it. Have you heard of the treadmill desk?  Dr. Levine invented it to combat the adverse effects of our sedentary lifestyles.

You may be a non-smoker, exercise after work, and eat healthy so you think you are healthy, but if you sit for hours at a time without a break you are still at risk of serious illnesses like diabetes, cancer, muscle-skeletal issues, depression, and heart disease. The risks increase with every two hours of sitting without a break and we are not just referring to your desk chair. According to The Active Times, we spend more time sitting in our cars, watching TV, playing video games, or playing on our electronic gadgets (like cell phones and tablets).

Are you sitting yourself to bad health? You can be pro-active and reading the health risks is your first step.  Now institute these breaks into your everyday life to get you out of that sedentary lifestyle and create a healthier you:

  • Take a break every hour, something as simple as walking to the water cooler, stretching at your desk, walk around the block on your lunch hour.
  • Use a stand up desk or treadmill desk. (check out Pinterest for ideas to make a homemade stand up desk –and make sure it is approved by HR.)
  • At night, while watching TV start to use the commercial breaks for stretching breaks. At every commercial stand up and stretch, jog in place, etc.
  • If you ride on public transportation, stand instead of sitting.
  • Put down the cell phone and get some exercise. Make a “no-electronics” time that so you get active and disconnect, even if it is for 5 minutes, twice a day.

You need to get the blood flowing and your muscles stretched at least once every 60 minutes.  Another reason for the smoking analogy is that  sitting and smoking both have non-reversible effects as multiple studies have shown.  So, are you standing yet?