Is Sitting Really the New Smoking?

Posted at 6:48 PM on Aug 8, 2022

You have probably heard that sitting is bad for us, but is it really considered the new smoking? The simple answer is kind of. Sitting is getting a bad reputation because most of us are generally too sedentary. We simply do not move our bodies as much as we should throughout the day. Let us break down how sitting has negative impacts on overall health.

The Negative Impacts Sitting has on the Body

Over the years, we have evolved from being hunters and gathers to now sitting behind a desk staring at a screen for countless hours. This change has impacted our health as our bodies are designed to be upright and move often. 

Research has shown negative impacts on health from excessive sitting or living a sedentary lifestyle that includes:

  • Obesity and weight gain
  • Posture and back problems
  • Increased blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Unhealthy cholesterol levels
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer
  • Decreased cognitive function
  • Mood issues like depression and anxiety
  • Decreased life expectancy
  • Increased risk of Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and varicose veins
  • Lethargy and decreased energy

This list is not comprehensive, and research is always linking more negative health effects to a sedentary lifestyle. The argument can therefore be made that sitting is the new smoking based on the plethora of adverse effects it has on your health.

The Solution - Move More, Sit Less

The easy fix is to move more and sit less. While this advice may seem easy, it can be pretty challenging for those of us who have a job that requires us to be relatively sedentary throughout the day. The good news is that we can all do things to move more throughout the day while keeping our desk jobs.

Take Breaks to Stand, Move, and Stretch

Every hour aim to take at least one break to move. This involves getting up to stand, move, and stretch a bit every hour. Set an alarm if you need to. You don’t have to take long breaks. Even 1 minute every hour makes a difference.

Standing Desk

We understand that not everyone can convert to a standing desk, but if it’s an option, switch to a standing desk. This will allow you to move often throughout the day while working. There are adjustable height desks that enable you to stand, sit or even walk while working.

Increase Your Step Count

Invest in a pedometer and work toward 10,000 steps each day. If needed, set a lower, more realistic goal and make 10,000 steps your someday goal. Setting a goal will significantly improve your odds of sticking with it. Learn more about walking yourself to health.

Drink More Water

Not only is drinking water great for your health, but it will get you moving more. The more hydrated you are, the more you will head to the restroom. Increasing your water consumption will also have you moving more to fill your bottle regularly.

Take Your Meeting on the Go

If possible, take your meeting on the go. Take a walk while having work meetings or personal phone calls.

Movement Matters

While regular exercise is essential, general movement throughout the day is arguably even more important. Start developing healthier habits today. Your health will thank you for tomorrow.