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Sitting Disease: Why Sitting is the new smoking

Modern lifestyles have become increasingly sedentary. For white-collar workers, it’s not unusual to sit in front of a computer screen for 6-8 hours a day, or even longer. Even after work, we continue to spend hours staring at our phones, TVs, and other electronics.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (the CDC), “Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receives the recommended amount of physical activity each week.”

Long stretches of inactivity is directly associated with stiffening muscles around the neck, shoulders, upper and lower back, forearms, wrists and hands, buttocks, and thighs. Seriously, when was the time we stood up and stretch in the middle of a busy work day?

Sitting disease is real. Any extended sitting – such as at a desk, behind a wheel, or in front of a screen – can be harmful. According to Mayo Clinic, researchers analyzed many studies of sitting time and activity levels. They found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to that posed by obesity and smoking. Moreover, sedentary lifestyles increase a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. And, long periods of inactivity also impact our mental health. So yes, sitting is a disease.

The good thing is, it’s never too late to change our unhealthy lifestyle.

What to do?

The CDC recommends people get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. This could be five 30-minute sessions across 1 week.

Moderate-intensity activity might include:

  • brisk walking
  • water aerobics
  • riding a bike on level ground

Take care of you body – because that’s the only place you have to live (Jim Rohn).