Is Sitting the New Smoking? 3 Ways Sitting is Killing You and What You Can Do About It.

by Kim Drolet, L.Ac.

Is Sitting the New Smoking? 3 Ways Sitting is Killing You and What You Can Do About It

We are all familiar with the ways smoking is implicated in a range of diseases, from heart and lung disease to stroke and cancer. The good news is that people are smoking less. The bad news is the latest research shows that, similar to the effects of smoking, sitting for too many hours a day is related to serious diseases and can shave years off your life and happiness. Here are 3 ways research shows sitting could be killing you.

#1 Chronic Disease
If you sit for too many hours a day, you are increasing your likelihood of having a chronic disease of some kind. These include killer diseases like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic disease, and cancer.

#2 Poor Mental Health
Sitting for too many hours at work and in your free time are both associated with worse mental health. The more you sit, the more likely you will feel the effects of stress and negative emotions that can impact your health. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found about 80% of all diseases are associated with the damaging effects of stress alone, which makes sitting too much a potentially serious contributor to both mental and physical health.

#3 Earlier Death
Research has shown that regardless of your weight, sex, and age, sitting too much puts you at a higher risk of dying from all causes. Bottom line: If you sit too much, you’ll die earlier of something. If you sit for more than 11 hours a day, the effects are even worse. It appears regular exercise helps a bit, but it doesn’t get rid of all the negative effects of sitting too much.

In my practice, I recommend patients sit for less than 3-5 hours a day. Between desk jobs, driving, and electronic down-time, most of us sit more than this, and are looking for ways to stand more. Hope is not lost, and small changes can have big impacts. There are some easy habits to pick up to get you standing more, and sitting less.

At first, standing up for “no reason” may feel awkward, but start to think of it as “exercise” and necessary for your health. Changing your mindset to think about standing more and sitting less will go a long way in getting you to change your habits. Get started, sit less, and live a longer, happier, healthier life!

5 Easy Habits to Stand More at Home and Work

  • Change your mindset. Standing in line, or waiting for the elevator, is now a health exercise instead of a waste of time.
  • Stand while using your phone. Write text messages, check email, Instagram, and Facebook while standing. Note to self: “When using phone, stand up.”
  • If you think about standing, get up and stand. Sit right back down, or do something for a few moments. The more you do this, the more you will positively link your body’s needs with your thoughts and actions to reinforce the habit.
  • Get up from your desk or couch regularly. Just stretch, wiggle, shake, and stand up for a few moments or minutes. Work while standing whenever possible.
  • Stand up during Couch time. Stand up for portions of your video game, during commercials, or for segments of TV shows. Always stand up and cheer good plays, whether you are on your couch or at your kid’s baseball game.

Kim Drolet, L.Ac.
(619) 796-5462

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