Sitting is the New Smoking

Sitting is the New Smoking

We all do it – sitting at work, in front of the TV, and of course in front of the glowing screens of our computers. Prolonged sitting has been linked to a long list of pains and ailments that many of us put up with on a daily basis:


Neck, mid and upper back pain

Lower back pain & disc disease

Repetitive motions injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue and Loss Of Focus

Slowing of the body’s metabolism affecting things like HDL levels

Increased risk of cardiovascular and other chronic disease

General deconditioning, and loss of muscular strength and stability

Development of faulty movement patterns

I’m fairly active but I still sit for much of my work. I used to think that I was able to make up for it by exercising regularly, but it turns out I’ve been wrong.

New studies shows that physical inactivity exerts it’s own unique effects on one set of physiological processes while exercise exerts it’s effects through other pathways. This means that you can’t necessarily reverse the negative effects of sitting all day by going to the gym at night.

So What Can You Do??

The solution is to get up and move! Sounds simple, but if it were we’d all be doing it. Here are a few strategies you can use to help you move more. If you have other ideas for this, let me know.

-Take very regular micro breaks, at least once an hour, during your workday. Call or email me if you need suggestions on exactly what to do. There are specific movements that help to unwind the negative effects of a prolonged sitting posture.

-I recently read about someone who takes a few outdoor “walking meetings” at work.

-Instead of just lounging on the couch, exercise or stretch while you watch TV at night.

-If at all possible reconfigure your workstation to allow you to stand at your desk. Research this online. I’ll be doing this soon.

The studies are confirming that sitting too much is a real health hazard. We can’t let the mounting tasks of our day to day allow us to ignore it any longer. Get up and move!!

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April 12, 2016

Dr. Russell Charno