Is Sitting the New Smoking

There has been lots in the press about the impact of sitting on our health. With obesity levels at an all time high, a survey from Australia showed that people think that sitting too much and not exercising is the biggest cause of obesity.

Research shows that sitting decreases activity in the legs, reduces calorie burning to as little as one per minute and enzymes that burn fat drop 90%.

Whilst most people know the risks of smoking there still seems to be a lack of education as to the potential negative effects of sitting on health.

The current myth seems to be that you can lose weight by simply exercising a bit more and watching your calories, yet reality doesn’t seem to show this.

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Your brain – which is the control center of your nervous system, which in turn coordinates health and wellbeing in the body, needs constant input to work optimally. When we don’t move for long periods at a time this input dramatically decreases. I liken it to a bike dynamo which needs constant movement from the wheels to power the light, you brain needs input from your spine and body, and we get this from movement.

Everyone knows that even if we don’t want to exercise, if we manage to drag ourselves out for a walk or to the gym we always feel better afterwards.

So what can you do to counter the effects of sitting?

  1. If you are making a phone call – stand in you can. Walk whilst you talk. Move more.

  2. Sitting desks are becoming more and more affordable. You can either invest in one if you’re self employed or work on your boss if you’re not. The health benefits are potentially huge.

  3. If you use public transport to get to work, get off a stop early and walk

  4. Use the stairs not the lift

  5. Find a sport or activity that you love and plan to do it at least 3 times a week.

  6. Meet your friend for a walk, not a coffee, or take your coffee with you.

  7. If you are concerned you don’t move enough, invest in a step counter (there are so many affordable options on Amazon nowadays) and aim for a minimum of 10000 per day. Assess your levels currently and build up to 10,000 and beyond.

We all have a choice as to what we do with our time. With a little creativity you could improve your energy levels, relieve tension in your body, reduce stress and improve your overall health by moving more each day.

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