Sitting is the new smoking
There is mounting evidence that sitting uninterrupted for long periods of time is an independent health risk
Welcome to the age of couch potatoes! Thanks to technology and thanks to us sitting in swanky air-conditioned offices, we are increasingly becoming less and less active. While some of us may huff and puff our way through a morning or evening jog, or do a strenuous workout at the gym, calm ourselves with a one-hour yoga workout or dance the Zumba, once we settle down to work – which is a minimum of eight hours and could go well beyond that – we stay glued to our chairs.
Today, the media is buzzing with the new mantra – that sitting is the next smoking. Yes, sitting continuously for long periods of time is harmful to your health. Here’s why:
- Sitting for long, uninterrupted periods of time is harmful to health. It doubles the risk of diabetes and heart disease and also ups the risk for premature death.
- Even if you exercise regularly, continuous sitting is harmful to health. According to a lead researcher Thomas Yates, MD: “Even for people who are otherwise active, sitting for long stretches seems to be an independent risk factor for conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease.”
- Did you know that even the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed inactivity as the fourth major killer of adults; it is apparently responsible for 9% of premature deaths1.
- Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division (one of the main doctors assigned to keep the astronauts from becoming weak in space) and author of ‘Sitting Kills, Moving Heals’ has done research on this subject. The research reveals that your body actually needs to continuously interact with gravity through movement so that it functions at its best.
- Her research has revealed that uninterrupted sitting imitates a microgravity situation, which results in hastening the aging process.
- Sedentary lifestyles are being connected to higher levels of ‘white fat’—a kind of fat that is less metabolically active than ‘brown fat’. Brown fat generates heat and burns energy instead of storing it. A recent study reveals that exercise helps change white fat into healthier brown fat.
Remember to never sit still for long periods of time. It affects your metabolic rate and leaves you open to a host of diseases. Make sure to keep moving all through the day, even if it is for five to ten minutes every hour. A little extra movement can help, so keep moving and ward off death by sitting!