Infinite Fitness Blog

Sitting: The New Smoking

A generation or two ago, smoking was one of the greatest health hazards in the nation. So many people gave up smoking to improve their health and potentially live longer. Now we are facing a new challenge. The physical impact of prolonged sitting goes far beyond the occasional TV marathon binge. For those who routinely sit for long periods at work or just perusing the computer, the consequences are even greater.

According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers have identified quite a few health concerns all linked to prolonged periods of sitting. Some of the primary concerns are “obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels”. These conditions lead to an increased death risk – from any cause. The risks for events associated with cardiovascular diseases are even higher.

The good news is that sitting, unlike smoking, is not an addiction. It is a relatively easy problem to fix. The answer to this problem is to increase your movement in between times of sitting. For instance, instead of emailing or messaging a co-worker across the office, get up and walk over to them. Or take a walk after eating lunch. The idea is to not sit for too long a period of time.

Other ideas include:
-Pacing while on the phone. The increased blood flow may even help you think better!

-Work in various positions. Try a balance ball instead of your standard chair. Or sit cross-legged on the floor. Create a standing workstation by putting your monitor and keyboard on a crate or riser.
The treadmill option. Get a treadmill-ready work desk and set up your workstation on it. Walk on the treadmill as you work. You will be in constant motion throughout the day.

-Routine workouts at the gym are another way to combat problems from excessive sitting. Regular workouts – at least 3 per week – improve the risks of many health issues. And, let’s face it, when you feel better, you work better.

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