We’ve all heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” It’s a catchy phrase, but it’s also a sobering one. For years, smoking was considered one of the most significant health risks, but recent studies have shown that sitting for extended periods can be just as harmful. In this article, we’ll explore why sitting is the new smoking, and what we can do to combat the negative effects.
- Health risks associated with sitting
Prolonged sitting has been linked to several health risks, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. Studies have found that people who sit for long periods have higher rates of these conditions compared to those who are more active. The reasons for this are not fully understood, but it’s believed that sitting for extended periods can lead to decreased circulation, slower metabolism, and increased inflammation, all of which can contribute to these health risks.
- The impact on mental health
The negative effects of sitting aren’t limited to physical health. Studies have also found a link between prolonged sitting and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. This could be because sitting for long periods can lead to decreased energy levels and increased stress, both of which can contribute to these conditions.
- The importance of movement
The key to combating the negative effects of sitting is movement. Even small amounts of movement throughout the day can have significant health benefits. Taking a short walk or doing some light exercise can help increase circulation, boost metabolism, and reduce inflammation. Additionally, regular movement has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, reducing stress and anxiety.
- Strategies for staying active
There are several strategies that you can use to stay active throughout the day, even if you have a desk job. One approach is to set a timer to remind you to take a short break every 30 minutes or so. During these breaks, you can stretch, walk around, or do some light exercise. Another strategy is to incorporate movement into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to a nearby store instead of driving.
- The importance of workplace culture
Creating a workplace culture that promotes movement is also essential. Employers can encourage employees to take breaks and move around throughout the day by providing standing desks or encouraging regular stretch breaks. Additionally, companies can offer wellness programs that promote healthy habits, including regular exercise.
In conclusion, sitting is the new smoking, and the negative health effects associated with prolonged sitting are significant. However, there are steps that we can take to combat these effects. Regular movement throughout the day is key, as is creating a workplace culture that encourages and supports healthy habits. By taking these steps, we can reduce the risks associated with sitting and improve our overall health and well-being.
How does a sitting lifestyle affect your body like smoking?
Living a seated lifestyle can be just as dangerous to your health as smoking. The less you sit or lie down during the day, the higher your chances of living a healthy life.
If you stand or move during the day, you have a lower risk of premature death compared to sitting at a desk. If you live an inactive lifestyle, you have a higher chance of gaining weight, depression, developing type 2 diabetes, cancer or heart disease,.
“Humans are made to stand upright”. Your heart and cardiovascular system work more efficiently in this way. Your intestines also work more efficiently when you stand up. It is common for people who are bedridden in hospital to have problems with bowel function.
When you’re physically active, on the other hand, your overall energy and stamina levels improve, and your bones stay strong.
The Science Behind Why Sitting Is The New Smoking
Sitting can be very comfortable. Why is it so bad? This is what happens when you spend too much time sitting:
- Blood flow slows down. If you sit for long time, it can allow fatty acids to build up in your blood vessels, leading to heart disease.
- Sitting for long periods of time can lead to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity, which is the two major risk factors for heart disease.
- A 2018 study found that 82% of people with blood clots sat much longer than the remaining 18%.
- Ability to process fat slows down. When you sit down, your body’s production of lipoprotein lipase (an enzyme that is essential for breaking down fat) drop by about 90%. When your body fails to break down fat, it will be stored instead.
The Real Facts ( Sitting Vs Smoking )
More than 25% of American adults sit for more than 10 hours a day. 44% of these people do little or no exercise. The average American is active less than 20 minutes a day and watches about three hours of television every day. 60-75 minutes of moderate activity can counteract the effects of excessive sitting.
According to a study in 2011 documented 800,000 people and their sitting habits. The study found that people who sit longer, compared to people who sit less, have a higher risk of illness and death just like smoking.
- Increased risk of developing diabetes by 112%.
- Increased risk of diseases such as heart attack and stroke by 147%.
- Higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease 90%.
- Increased risk of death by 49% from any cause.
Sitting is unavoidable! So it’s essential to recognize the issues and take action accordingly to avoid it. Here’s how you can ward off negative side effects:
Set the timer
Get up every hour and move around. You can walk around and stretch. To remind you, download reminder apps to your phone.
Watch your position
Poor posture can lead to bone damage, reduced circulation, fatigue, and loss of muscle strength. Whenever you sit, keep your shoulders back, your chin in, and your stomach toward your spine to keep your bones aligned, muscles engaged, and blood circulation flowing.
Take a stand.
If you can, why not opt for a standing desk? Not only will your heart thank you, but standing desks have been shown to increase creativity, productivity and brain function.
Take the stairs
Whenever possible avoid using the elevator. If you are living in the 1st or 2nd floor, you don’t need to use the elevator as I said earlier every physical activity counts.
Commit to exercising every day. You can attend a gym class or create your own home gym. You can also make a habit of playing something like cricket, football, tennis or any other interesting games.
Go for a Tour
If you think you are at risk of these sitting problem go for a tour. During your tour the body will be physically active most of the time. After coming back from the tour you will feel much much better trust me. I have this sitting problem due to my desk job and when ever I feel unwell I go for a tour. It works like medicine for me. I feel refreshing and it helps my productivity at work too.
Stretching the hips and lower body, flexibility training and yoga will keep your body healthy. In recent years it has been said that “sitting is as harmful as smoking.” While, yes, sitting and smoking have negative health effects, it is impossible to compare them.
The difference between sitting and smoking is that society has expelled one and completely expanded over the other.
It’s great to rest. In fact, this is necessary. But you must know “Too much of every ting is poison“. At what point does “taking a break” turn into living a sedentary life? Take a look at the hours of your day. How many of them spend on a chair? Truly. While sitting at your desk may not equal smoking, but it can lead to the same results.
You should remember that “Every minutes of physical activity counts!”
We know that sitting is unavoidable! Here’s how you can defend against any negative side effects:
Staying active is not as difficult as you might think. There are many easy ways to fit physical activity into your day.
Research shows that you can reduce your risk of these health problems, all with one simple lifestyle change: reducing the amount of time you spend sitting.
Dr. Levine estimates that, in the United States, we spend more than half of our waking hours sitting, whether it’s watching television, driving, or sitting at a desk at work or at home.
“We weren’t designed to sit,” says Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Biological Sciences Division and author of “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals”. “The body is a continuous motion machine.” So you need to move as often as possible and also huff & puff sometimes.