Why “Sitting” Is Evolving Into Yesterday’s “Smoking”

There has been a lot of talk recently about the dangers of too much sitting, prompting many to say, “sitting is the new smoking”. Now for the good news. A meta-analysis of trials recently published in Lancet concludes that an hour of moderate-intensity activity offsets the health risks of 8 hours of sitting.

According to the meta-analysis, high levels of moderate intensity physical activity (i.e., about 60-75 min per day) seem to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time. The activity could include brisk walking (at 3.5 mile per hour) or cycling for pleasure (at 10 miles per hour). However, even shorter periods of activity (about 20 to 25 minutes per day) could attenuate the mortality risks associated with prolonged sitting.

Companies are trying to implement new ways to avoid sitting for long periods of time. One alternative would be to have stand up operations or working tables that allow employees to have the ability to stand or sit! Although, a treadmill desk is the preferred method of beating the “sitting all day blues,” it’s not always practical. The next best thing is a standing desk. It’s also cheaper than a treadmill desk.

In the meantime until further change is implemented, there are things you can do right now to help this problem. If you can’t walk or stand at your desk, don’t worry. There are still lots of things you can do to minimize the health hazards of a desk job. For example, offset the effects of sitting by taking the stairs at your work place, instead of the elevator.