Healthy Living

Is Sitting as Bad as Smoking?

Aug 14 2019
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How sitting affects health

You may have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” But what exactly does that mean?

For some individuals you sit during your commute, then at your work desk, and then on your couch at home after a long day. When you add this up, that is a lot of time spent sedentary.

Sitting for extended periods of time uninterrupted can be harmful to your health. Initial symptoms might include back pain, tight muscles and even slow digestion. Overtime though, this can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and poor circulation.

Many studies have shown people who sit more than eight hours per day with no physical activity have a similar risk of dying as people who are obese or smoke.

Taking active breaks

If your days involve a lot of sitting, one of the best things you can do is break it up with standing and moving. Even if you exercise, you should still avoid sitting for more than an hour without an active break.

Here are some practical ways to move more throughout your day:

  • Switch it up and stand. Many of us sit at work and appreciate the focus that sitting allows us to have. However, it is important to find standing opportunities at least once a day. Use a tall table or a standing desk, if you have one. Consider taking informal meetings while walking around.
  • Embrace interruptions. Does your water bottle need to be refilled? Do you have to go across the office to talk to someone? Need to go up one floor of stairs? See these quick errands as opportunities to get up and move.
  • Know it adds up. If you have five minutes before your next meeting, take a brisk walk around. Don’t think any amount of time is too small. Every minute of movement adds up throughout your day.

Visit Mercy.com to learn more about our health services.


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