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Sitting is the New Smoking — But What Are Your Options?


by Skye Sherman - September 30, 2019


Sitting is the New Smoking — But What Are Your Options

In today’s digital age, spending the majority of the work day sitting behind a desk, staring at a computer, is the norm. Weeks pass by with little to no movement unless you follow an exercise regimen. All this stationary living will take its toll, and we are already beginning to see the results of such a sedentary lifestyle.

Sitting in a chair may seem harmless, but do it for weeks or years on end and your health will suffer big time. Some are calling sitting the new smoking. But if you’ve gotta work and your job requires a whole lot of down time behind a desk, what are your options? Quitting smoking is the obvious resolution for smokers, but what about quitting sitting? Many people don’t feel they have that option, even if they wanted to! Everyone has to make a living somehow.

In this article, we’ll go over the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle and discuss what you can do to combat it -- short of quitting your job and becoming a fitness instructor instead!

Sitting is the new smoking: What are the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle?

Sitting may seem harmless when you compare it to the obvious dangers of smoking. But believe it or not, just like smoking has its deadly side effects, the all-day sitting that is the daily regimen of millions of people around the world also does not come without a major cost.

World Lung Day took place on September 25 and some consider October to be Healthy Lung Awareness Month. So this month, make sure both your lungs and your sit bones are in optimal health condition.

Mayo Clinic reports that “Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

Other potential risks of sitting include a higher risk for obesity, depression and anxiety, and heart disease -- all of which can result in an early death. CNN reports, “There’s a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause, researchers said, based on a study of nearly 8,000 adults. As your total sitting time increases, so does your risk of an early death. The positive news: People who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death.”

Again, sitting may seem like an innocent enough activity, and everybody’s got to sit sometime. But sitting all day long can actually be deadly. If developing spider veins and varicose veins from sitting all day results in deep vein thrombosis (DTV), a blood clot forms that can break off and head elsewhere in the body, including your lungs or brain, which can be fatal.

Still, remember that the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” is just a comparison. Of course sitting is not necessarily as bad for you as inhaling tar, tobacco, and other toxic chemicals into your lungs. Smoking kills, and its harms are proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. While sitting in excess isn’t good for you, it’s certainly not as poisonous to the organs as smoking.

An article in Science Daily reads, “In the latest issue of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers from Canada, the US, and Australia say that while research does suggest excessive sitting (roughly more than eight hours a day) increases the risk of premature death and some chronic diseases by 10-20%, this pales in comparison to the risks associated with smoking. Smoking increases the risk of premature death from any cause by approximately 180 per cent, the researchers say.”

In other words, if you’ve got to pick one or the other, sitting is still the better option. But the ideal route would be to lead a healthy, active lifestyle that incorporates healthy habits and stays far away from harmful activities like smoking. Sitting may cause untold harm, but there are ways you can work it into your lifestyle at a manageable level to ward off its ill effects.

What can you do about it?

If you’re looking for ways to combat the ill effects of sitting all day long for years on end, that’s a good start. You should begin to focus on how you can fit as much movement as possible into your day. Whether that means doing small exercises at your desk or getting up to walk around as much as you can, you have to do what you have to do.

Outside of work hours, make sure you’re getting active; take up hobbies that don’t require more sitting but instead encourage you to get outside and get moving. In this case, tennis may be a better option than video games. At work, try a standing desk or an exercise ball as a chair instead, as it will let you move around more and provide more mobility. A standing desk will let you move around and is better for your circulation.

Other tips including trying to take your calls on the move if possible, stopping for hourly stretch breaks, taking a lap around the office when you can, and eating lunch outside or even on a walk if possible. Getting outside for fresh air can be a major perk up to your system.

Mayo Clinic recommends the following tips for combating the effects of a sedentary lifestyle:

● “Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes.

● Stand while talking on the phone or watching television.

● If you work at a desk, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.

● Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.

● Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. For starters, you'll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, your ability to move and your mental well-being, especially as you age.”

And if you just need to quit smoking, we sell various Nicorette products to help you quit smoking. These items are over the counter, so there is no prescription required. You can choose from original gum, fresh mint, inhaler, and nasal spray. You can pay less if you buy in bulk.

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