Orange is the New Black – Sitting is the New Smoking

So they say. Sitting is the new smoking. What that’s supposed to convey is that sitting is not good for your health.

And it’s true. But it’s not the whole truth. We work longer and harder than ever. We also lounge around long and hard and sit down and surf long and hard too.

We essentially (and when I say ‘we’ – yes, it’s a gross generalisation, but somewhat warranted) stay seated a LOT!

And why is it so bad. Well studies are now showing that you increase you risk of many diseases by sitting around. Including cancer  – all sorts from colon and endomedtrial to even lung! (See Journal of National Cancer Institute) and heart disease (see American Journal of Epidemiology).

It’s getting so bad that the WHO (World Health Organisation) has identified physical inactivity as the fourth biggest killer – ahead of obesity.

In 2010, the American Cancer Society published the results of a study in the Journal of Epidemiology which followed 123,216 individuals for 13 years (1993 – 2006) and found that:

Women who were inactive and seated for more than 6 hrs per day were 94% more likely to die during the time period studied, than those who were physically active and sat for less than 3 hrs.  For men the number was 48%.

What else?

As soon as you sit electrical activity in your legs shut off, enzymes that break down fat drop by 90%, and after two hours of sitting your good cholesterol drops.

And if you think your 3 or 4 gym sessions squeezed in-between meetings each week will help you – think again. The University of Queensland (Australia) reported that “even when meeting physical activity guidelines, sitting for prolonged periods can compromise metabolic health.”

Moving throughout the day is what’s needed. Not sitting for 3 hrs in the morning, grabbing a bagel, sitting eating it for you lunch at your desk, sitting some more and then hitting the gym in the evening and then sitting watching TV and eating dinner.

Sorry guys. Movement throughout the day.

Yes, there’s now a push for standing desks. And that’s a start, for sure. But it’s not movement.

It’s just moving the problem. When we sit we get all sorts of problems from the ones mentioned to structural ones like bad backs, tight hips, short hamstrings and so on.

And I know most of you want the option to stand at work. According to and Ipsos study, 3 out of 4 employees at US companies wish they didn’t spend most of their time sitting. 67% wanted desks that adjusted to seated or standing positions. And over half those interviewed thought they would be more productive if they had the option to be on their feet.

Standing might help. But we’re designed to MOVE throughout the day.

And don’t wait for something to happen at work or to your health to make a change. Take charge.

What can you do?

I don’t have a standing desk. But when I was spending a great deal of time at the desk editing videos for an online course, I used a CD rack to put the laptop on.

And now I use a timer set for 25 minutes to remind me to “get up, stand up” – (it actually plays Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up song!). It was free to download too – and then I get up and bounce on my rebounder for the length of Bob’s song. Or make a cuppa, do some stretching, some press ups – or whatever floats your boat. Just MOVE.

I’m a fan of the new slogan “Sitting is the new smoking”, but understand that standing for prolonged periods isn’t what we were designed for either. And even if you’re progressive enough to have a treadmill desk, know that you’re just using one plain of motion. Movement is about free movement of the body. Standing is better than sitting and walking better than standing – for certain things like getting the blood moving and flowing and burring a few calories, but even better would be to ensure you’re moving throughout the day in free plains of motion. Climb up and down stairs (go to the loo on a different floor), do some squats in the bathroom cubicle. Hang off a door. Bounce on a rebounder!

Just MOVE it!

Further info

10 Reasons to Take up Rebounding Video

Buy a rebounder

What do you think?