Sitting is the new smoking

Businesswoman peering over laptop

OUT for a surf one day you find you don’t spring to your feet as spontaneously as you did last season. Your shoulder and neck hurt like 40 bastards anyway so even paddling is harder than it was.

You could be suffering from the sedentary work-style. Health organisation, The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says chronic diseases far surpass infectious diseases, in the US. What’s more, prolonged sitting is the number one contributor to chronic diseases. Getting up and moving every hour reduces the threat of colon cancer by 25 percent, stroke by 27 percent and hypertension by 50 percent, says the CDC.

Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University obesity solutions initiative director, and treadmill desk inventor, James Levine is credited with the buzz-phrase “sitting is the new smoking”.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting,” he told The Los Angeles Times in 2014.

“We are sitting ourselves to death.”

A study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor for early death.

The US study was based on a population of black and white adults aged 45 years or older. The study did not say, however, what proportion of the 340 out of 7985 participants who died during a median follow-up of four years were couch surfers with concomitant bad diets, office workers or journalists at the peak of mental and physical fitness.

The study concluded: “Both the total volume of sedentary time and its accrual in prolonged, uninterrupted bouts are associated with all-cause mortality, suggesting that physical activity guidelines should target reducing and interrupting sedentary time to reduce risk for death.”

In short, take a load on, stand up and move around every 30 minutes to reduce the risk of death through excessive sitting.

But we work at desks so what can we do about it?

Apps are available to provide you with at-your-desk micro fitness challenges but we’re New Zealanders and less inclined to consult a screen when sitting in front of a screen which is part of the problem.

Regular breaks from your desk that involve walking, stretching, conscious breathing (as opposed to stepping outside for a smoke) will help.

Raising your desk so you can stand and work is an increasingly popular solution.

Aerobic and anaerobic exercise that builds heart and lungs, and muscular/skeletal fitness is the obvious one.

Twelve yoga poses “to undo the damage of your desk job” recommended by The Huffington Post health and science writer Carolyn Gregoire can be found at tinyurl.com/ncozmwl. Gregoire says if you only do one yoga pose after a long day in the padded saddle, make it a downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana).

To do the pose, place your hands on the floor from a standing positon to make an inverted ‘V’ shape. Feet should be about hips-width apart. Bring your attention to the breath as you stretch for 30-60 seconds.

Yoga teacher Julia Dellitt’s alternative 12 recommended yoga poses can be found at tinyurl.com/ncozmwl.

More inclined to boogie but in need of inspiration, catchy beats and words that almost make sense?

Stand up and get down to Sacha Baron Cohen’s I Like to Move It from the movie Madagascar at tinyurl.com/qdybrwz

Everybody now:

I like to move it move it

I like to move it move it

I like to move it move it

Ya like to... (MOVE IT!)

OUT for a surf one day you find you don’t spring to your feet as spontaneously as you did last season. Your shoulder and neck hurt like 40 bastards anyway so even paddling is harder than it was.

You could be suffering from the sedentary work-style. Health organisation, The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says chronic diseases far surpass infectious diseases, in the US. What’s more, prolonged sitting is the number one contributor to chronic diseases. Getting up and moving every hour reduces the threat of colon cancer by 25 percent, stroke by 27 percent and hypertension by 50 percent, says the CDC.

Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University obesity solutions initiative director, and treadmill desk inventor, James Levine is credited with the buzz-phrase “sitting is the new smoking”.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting,” he told The Los Angeles Times in 2014.

“We are sitting ourselves to death.”

A study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor for early death.

The US study was based on a population of black and white adults aged 45 years or older. The study did not say, however, what proportion of the 340 out of 7985 participants who died during a median follow-up of four years were couch surfers with concomitant bad diets, office workers or journalists at the peak of mental and physical fitness.

The study concluded: “Both the total volume of sedentary time and its accrual in prolonged, uninterrupted bouts are associated with all-cause mortality, suggesting that physical activity guidelines should target reducing and interrupting sedentary time to reduce risk for death.”

In short, take a load on, stand up and move around every 30 minutes to reduce the risk of death through excessive sitting.

But we work at desks so what can we do about it?

Apps are available to provide you with at-your-desk micro fitness challenges but we’re New Zealanders and less inclined to consult a screen when sitting in front of a screen which is part of the problem.

Regular breaks from your desk that involve walking, stretching, conscious breathing (as opposed to stepping outside for a smoke) will help.

Raising your desk so you can stand and work is an increasingly popular solution.

Aerobic and anaerobic exercise that builds heart and lungs, and muscular/skeletal fitness is the obvious one.

Twelve yoga poses “to undo the damage of your desk job” recommended by The Huffington Post health and science writer Carolyn Gregoire can be found at tinyurl.com/ncozmwl. Gregoire says if you only do one yoga pose after a long day in the padded saddle, make it a downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana).

To do the pose, place your hands on the floor from a standing positon to make an inverted ‘V’ shape. Feet should be about hips-width apart. Bring your attention to the breath as you stretch for 30-60 seconds.

Yoga teacher Julia Dellitt’s alternative 12 recommended yoga poses can be found at tinyurl.com/ncozmwl.

More inclined to boogie but in need of inspiration, catchy beats and words that almost make sense?

Stand up and get down to Sacha Baron Cohen’s I Like to Move It from the movie Madagascar at tinyurl.com/qdybrwz

Everybody now:

I like to move it move it

I like to move it move it

I like to move it move it

Ya like to... (MOVE IT!)

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