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Is Sitting the New Smoking?

It’s no debate sedentary jobs are on the rise. In a study conducted in 2010, they found two out of every 10 adults had a job back in 1970 in which they sat for the majority of the day. By 2003, it had increased to six out of every 10. But it’s not only in the workplace, it is also at home, particularly with the rise of technology. We engage in activities which require less energy, like watching TV, and spending time seated at the computer or in the car commuting to and from work. The average person spends upwards of 12 hours a day sitting.

“Sitting is the new smoking."

“Sitting too long can kill you, even if you exercise.”

For years, headlines have used startling headlines like these to draw attention to sitting. I even spun it for the title of this post! But is sitting truly the problem? In reality, it’s not the sitting that causes health problems. It’s the sedentary lifestyle. It’s lack of movement throughout the day.

Our bodies are meant to move. We’re born with nearly perfect movement patterns yet spend the rest of our life pushing our bodies to do what they are not intended to do. So how do we take steps to combat our increasingly sedentary lives?

Bad news: A single workout in the gym per day isn’t necessarily going to do the trick. Just as one magic pill isn’t the key to weight loss, a one-hour workout isn’t going to offset the multiple hours we sit per day. Although working out is important, it’s simply not enough to counterbalance the average person’s sedentary lifestyle.

Good news: You don’t have to make a separate trip to the gym to begin to combat the effects of a sedentary job or lifestyle. Simply begin by adding extra movement throughout the day. This can be as simple as standing up for even 10 minutes at a time or taking the stairs to a bathroom on another floor. When you’re at home watching television at the end of the day, sit in a butterfly stretch or “crisscross-applesauce” position to open up your hips. Paying extra attention to changing your posture and a few added minutes of movement can help offset the effects of a more sedentary job.


Do you have questions about sitting throughout the day? Is there another topic you'd like to see a blog post about? Email Emily at


Key Word: Sitting

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