Sitting is the New Smoking?

You’ve likely seen the headlines that “Sitting is the new smoking.” And unfortunately, just like smoking, the recommendations to avoid it have taken just as long to surface.

But what’s worse, is that quitting may be even harder! As there’s been a dramatic and consistent rise in sitting time since the 1950’s, and it’s largely because of inactive transportation, television, and an increase in occupations that revolve around the computer.

"We sit on the way to work, sit while we’re at work, and sit around watching t.v. when we get home."

In fact, research has demonstrated that approximately 25-35% of adults are inactive, and this sedentary behaviour is a risk factor for heart disease(2.5x), diabetes (2x), and all-cause mortality(0.5x). With a recent meta-analysis (2015) in the Annals of Internal Medicine reviewing data from 41 studies on sedentary time to find a 91% increase in type 2 diabetes, and 24% increase in all-cause mortality when comparing the most active with the least.

Sadly, it’s not as simple as ‘more sitting means less moving.’ But rather, the actual act of sitting is dangerous to our health.  Meaning, the person who walks more or spends more time at the gym isn’t undoing the time spent at their desk.  And the probability of chronic disease remains high regardless of body mass index and lifestyle habits.

For instance, another review from the University of Regensberg in Germany pooled data from 43 studies and over 4 million people to determine that each additional 2 hour period of sitting per day increased lung cancer by 6%, bowel cancer by 8%, and endometrial cancer (in women) by 10%.

In other words, we need to make a conscious effort to “Sit Less!” Not only because more sitting is hurting us, but because more exercise doesn’t help.

And sure, it’s technically not as bad as smoking. Although what’s similar, is that the only way to avoid any of the health consequences is to STOP DOING IT.

Stay Lean!

Coach Mike


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