Is Sitting the New Smoking?

Office routine. Back view of young employees working on computers while sitting at desk in modern open space. Job concept. Workplace

Have you heard this before – “sitting is the new smoking”? Meaning, being sedentary is as bad for your health as smoking? 

It was a health “fact” circulating in recent years meant to shock you into getting off your butt and moving more. Good intentions but not a lot of truth to it. Being sedentary is not good for your health but smoking is still very, very bad for you (and worse than sitting too much).

That said, sitting a lot can have some serious negative impacts on your overall wellness. According the The Mayo Clinic, sitting for long periods of time can lead to “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.”

One of the most immediate and obvious symptoms of sitting too much is how you feel when you stand up. Have you ever taken a road trip and when you finally get there, your body is mad at you when you get out of the car? It almost refuses to straighten up all the way and let you walk like a normal human being because your hips and back feel locked up.

The same thing can happen if you sit all day at work. Except not only do your hips and back feel locked, but also your shoulders and neck.

The good news is that there are some SIMPLE things you can do to keep from become a “sitting” duck for health problems:

● Move! When you’re not sitting, find ways to incorporate movement into your daily routine. Exercise is great but also think about non-exercise movement (sometimes referred to as NEAT exercise). Things like taking the stairs, walking the dog, parking further away from the store, and playing with your kids or grandkids. Not only will this give those tight muscles a break, it will help keep your metabolism revved!

● Roll. Use a foam roller to loosen up tight spots. Gently roll any trouble spots to help break up knots. Not sure what foam rolling is? Request our free Foam Rolling Guide to help you do it right! 

● Stretch. Your hip flexors can get super tight when you sit a lot. This can cause a chain reaction in your other muscles, making them get tighter or weaker. Keeping them flexible now can help you avoid injury in the future. I offer one-on-one fitness coaching that always includes stretching.

Try doing these 3 things every day for one week and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel!

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