Sitting Is The New Smoking

Sitting Is The New Smoking

Ameera David WXYZ, an ABC affiliate Taking Action Reporter saw Equilibrium’s Facebook post warning that sitting is the new smoking and invited us to appear on TV to demonstrate exercises that people can do at their desks.

Dr. Levine a Mayo Clinic specialist in obesity, who also invented the treadmill desk, is the person who coined the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.”

At the Mayo Clinic, their researchers continue to find evidence that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses like various types of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  All the research shows that a lifestyle of sitting shortens your life.

While researching for this blog post I found that The American Cancer Society released a study that showed an increase in cancer for women who sit more than six hours a day.

In addition to all the health risks of prolonged sitting, consider the positive mental results of exercise.

According to researchers at The Mayo Clinic “Research has proved that exercise provides mood enhancing Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being”

Do you need more incentive to get up out of your chair?   If the risk of bad posture, back pain, neck pain, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and a shortened life doesn’t persuade you to move more, consider the positive mental health benefits of an active life.

You can watch the segment for suggestions on ways to move even if you have a desk job.  It’s not that hard once you make the decision to improve your health.

Isn’t it time you improved your health in the following ways:

  • decide to stand for phone calls
  • use steps, not elevators
  • use your smart phone to remind you every 20 minutes to stand and move a little
  • keep a Thera band at your desk for simple stretches and exercises
  • use your chair or a wall for standing planks or push ups
  • use your chair seat for triceps dips
  • get a standing desk or elevate your computer so you can stand to use it
  • get a kneeling chair as discussed in Men’s Health Magazine

To be clear, pilates teachers don’t diagnose or treat diseases but there are debilitating side effects of prolonged sitting that we can improve.

  • Sitting causes the pelvis to rotate backward and puts pressure on the lumbar discs. This position forces the head forward and cause the shoulders to curve to compensate for the weight transfer.
  • Prolonged, static loading of tissues over time puts undue pressure on the low back and stress the surrounding muscles and joints.
  • Inadequate sitting postures, associated with long periods of sitting at a desk, provoke excessive increases of lower back pressure. These somatic pains can become the symptoms of chronic diseases.

According to Beth Glosten MD

“Pilates is an exercise program that focuses on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of neutral alignment of the spine and strengthening the deep postural muscles that support this alignment, which are important to help alleviate and prevent back pain.

If you work at a desk be sure your pilates teacher is including extension exercises in your sessions.  Ask your teacher to give you exercises you can do at the office; at the wall, standing, or in your chair.

Are adults the only population at risk?  Absolutely not.  Kids, teens, and college students are more sedentary than ever with up to 14 hours a day spent sitting in cars, at desks, and on couches.  Constantly being on their cell phones complicates the sitting syndrome with neck strain.  The negative results for young people include high rates of obesity, increase in diabetes and other diseases, poor posture, and text neck.

With the increase in a sedentary lifestyle, coupled with the extreme competition in organized sports for our youth, the  majority of our young people are simply off to an unhealthy start.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention children and adolescents need one hour or more of physical activity each day. Schools no longer provide that to our youth so parents have to be more pro-active.  If your school age children don’t make the travel soccer team it is up to you to be sure they are not spending the majority of their time sitting.  Most boutique fitness studios and gyms now offer youth programs to meet the needs of young people who don’t participate in organized sports.  Find ways to include walking, biking, running, and exercise activities for your family.  Limit sitting at home.  If you have exercise equipment in your home try allowing watching an hour of TV only while they are on a treadmill or bike.

Google fitness programs in your area and find one that meets the needs of your child. There is no time better to start than today.

For more information.