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Why Sitting is the New Smoking

On average, someone with a desk job sits for 8+ hours per day, or 40+ hours a week just at the office. Add in commute time and time spent vegging out on the couch at home, most Americans are sitting a lot. This sedentary lifestyle is quickly wreaking havoc on our minds, bodies, and overall health!

Young businesswoman with neck pain sitting at office desk

In an interview done by the Los Angeles Times, Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic- Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative, stated, “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”

Research studies prove over and over again that sitting for extended periods of time has detrimental short-term and long-term side effects. How can you combat these side effects? Get up, get moving, take regular breaks to walk throughout the day, use a standing desk, or any other way you can think of to stay off your butt.

Not convinced? Check out this list of the ways that sitting down all day is killing you slowly:

  • Greater risk of developing cancer
    • A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that sitting for long periods of time increases your risk for colon, endometrial, and possibly lung cancer. The study found that even in physically active individuals, time spent sitting down for extended periods still increased the risk of these cancers. The risk worsened with each two hour increase in sitting time.
  • Greater risk of developing heart disease
    • A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who sat more than six hours a day died earlier than those who limited sitting time to three hours a day or less. The study surveyed 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were healthy at the start of the study and over the course of the 14-year follow-up they saw a higher mortality rate among the frequent sitters. “Associations were strongest for cardiovascular disease mortality. The time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level,” the study says.
  • Increases risk of obesity
    • Exercise, healthy diet, and moving throughout the day are the three important factors in maintaining a healthy weight. In a study done on weight gain and weight loss, every aspect of diet and exercise was controlled in the lab. The researchers added 1,000 calories a day to all of the subjects daily diets. None of the subjects were allowed to exercise, but some were able to maintain their weight while the others gained weight. So how did they avoid gaining weight? By unintentionally moving more throughout the day!
  • Increases risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
    • Sitting for long periods of time impacts blood sugar levels and insulin in the body, making sedentary people more likely to be obese and more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes. A study published in Diabetologia found that those who sat the most were twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes as the individuals who sat the least.

It’s time to get up, get going, and move to your health!