Is sitting the new smoking?

Please be up standing for the latest research into what’s going to ‘get us’. Researchers have found that sitting, something we tend to do quite a lot of, could kill us faster than smoking. Statistics from an Australian study released in the LA Times, indicate that an hour of sitting in front of the TV cuts around 22 minutes from your life. These results have been contrasted with smoking which is estimated to shorten lifespan by approximately 11 minutes per cigarette smoked. If you sit AND smoke, well…

Sitting on the job

But why? How does sitting affect my health?

There are many health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Results published in the journal Diabetologia showed that people who spend the most time sitting, compared to people who spent the least time sitting, had increased risk of:
• Diabetes by 112%
• Cardiovascular events by 147%
• Death from cardiovascular causes by 90%
• Death from all causes by 49%

Sitting is linked with a higher body weight and obesity. Some research suggests that mechanically, sitting puts more pressure on our fat cells causing the common ‘middle-age’ spread in weight deposition.

Cheery stuff indeed.

It does suggest that we are designed to be physically active – out there on the plain, hunting and gathering, as opposed to Market Place hunting and gathering!

Are we really doomed?

I don’t know if you are like me, but when I hear this new research, I often think “Gosh, it doesn’t seem to matter what we do, it’s wrong. Don’t eat bbq meat, don’t eat meat, eat meat. How do you make sense of it all and still keep yourself healthy?

Workplace Wellness Ideas

Apparently, we shouldn’t just go and hammer it out at the gym before and after work, or walk the dog. I mean, still do that, but try to expend energy across the entire day.

Well, what does that look like then? I can’t very well install a treadmill at my desk. Or could I…?

Exercise Keep doing your stuff before and after work and break up sitting time during the day with short walks. One study showed that 2 minutes of walking every 20 minutes improves glucose metabolism.
Maintain good posture and stretch daily Look to change your workspace. Conduct a workstation assessment. Are you able to stand for most or part of your day?
Drink water It keeps your circulation and filtering system working.
Manage your inflammation Sitting is pro-inflammatory. One of the best ways to do this by following an anti-inflammatory diet – think the Mediterranean Diet (sans all the bread and pasta).

To your good health!

Marnie Downer
Workplace Health & Wellness Expert

Marnie aims to help build happy and healthy work places by encouraging habits such as, good nutrition, building stress resilience and minimising sick days in the work place.

If you would like to read more about Marnie and her workshops on Essemy click this link.