Smoking cigarettes is something that people have been trying to quit for sometime now. I can remember , back in the seventies, my dad stopping cold turkey. Like him, many people have tried to stop because of the health risks involved. But now, a new health risk is putting us at risk. It's the way we spend out days, sitting.
Whether we are at a deck in the office or at home, binge watching our favorite television shows and movies, on our phones scrolling through social media, driving, or eating, we are sitting. Often, we are sitting for long periods of time. That is a problem, but how big of a problem is it? How damaging is it to our health?
Many of us, including me, because of our jobs have gone from active to stagnant. Where are grandparents worked manual labor, both at work and at home, we have made things so easy we don't have to move, literally at all. This isn't new to me, I've been worrying about this for a while.
After I got my job at WKDQ, 13 years ago, I met my husband. He lived in Whitesville, KY, which was an hour away from Evansville. I had no idea when I accepted the job and got an apartment in Evansville, that within a year I would be having a two hour commute, there and back, to do my job every weekday. Needless to say, it has been rough.
The two hours, 100 miles, I've driven to work, for almost the whole time I have worked at the radio station, never get easier. They have added up and taken a tole on my overall health.
I remember, early on, talking to my radio partner about a study that was done about work commutes. I read the stats, from the study, LIVE on the air. So, me reaction to the fact that anything over a 45 minute commute, total, increases your chances of heart disease, cancer, stroke, you name it. Basically anything bad.
What I was reading over the air, wasn't only ME informing YOU of the health risks of sitting too long, but I was informing myself too. It was wild to realize, my drive might just kill me in the end.
Every year since then, I have vowed to be more active so that I can counteract the fact that I have to drive so far every day. But, after gettin up so early to then drive to work, makes me super tired in the afternoon and I only want to take a nap.
But, right before New Year's, I saw an article that had a headline stating that sitting is the new smoking. That sent my mind racing. I know how bad smoking can be for you, but sitting? It's THAT bad. OMG.
Like many, my job requires me to sit for a minimum of eight hours. And, that doesn't count my tow hour commute. (insert scream)
So, like i do, I researched a little further into the theory that sitting for long periods of time is really has bad as smoking and I found quite the debate going on among scientists. But they all agree on one thing, sitting is bad.
Is sitting all day as bad as smoking?
Some say absolutely not. Back in 2018, the new term, sitting is the new smoking, came under fire. Science Daily had this to say.
No, sitting is not the new smoking, despite what countless newspaper articles have peddled in recent years. That's the consensus from an international team of researchers who have laid to rest misleading claims comparing the health dangers of sitting for long periods with smoking cigarettes
According to the Mayo Clinic,
An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking.
I don’t believe that sitting is the new smoking, if that’s what you’re asking. It might be a nice way to try to convey that sitting is associated with health risks, but it’s not comparable. The damage caused by smoking can’t be offset. But a moderate level of physical activity can offset high levels of sitting. Even just a little bit can do powerful things: one of our studies found that two minutes of light activity every half hour will keep your blood glucose concentrations at a normal level.
Ok, sitting is bad maybe not as bad as smoking, but still bad. What can we do to stop?
Tips to reduce sitting time:
- take the stairs and walk up escalators
- set a reminder to get up every 30 minutes
- place a laptop on a box or similar to work standing
- stand or walk around while on the phone
- take a walk break every time you take a coffee or tea break
- walk to a colleague's desk instead of emailing or calling
- swap some TV time for more active tasks or hobbies
As for my plan, I'm going to take a walk break an hour. You know, similar to a smoke break at work. But, I plan on waling around our workspace square for between 5 and 10 minutes. If I take those little walk breaks every hour, I can get almost an hour and a half of walking accomplished each day that I didn't get before.
I did it today, my first day back after the holidays, and I plan on doing it every day from now on. It felt great. I can feel my blood circulating as I type. That reminds me, it's time to get up and walk. #walkbreakisthenewsmokebreak