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I recently heard a new phrase, "Sitting is the new smoking." Where did this phrase come from, and what does it mean? Should your couch now be listed on a health risk assessment?
Based on some new research, it sounds like the amount of time spent on the couch or in a chair may indeed increase your risk of developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and even early death.
Marc Hamilton, a leading researcher on inactivity physiology, suggests that sitting is "the new smoking." James Levine, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and researcher, says obese people sit on average two-and-a-half hours more every day than thinner people.
When you sit for long periods of time, your body goes into "storage mode" and can even make your bottom bigger. This all dates back to our ancient Neanderthal ancestors who were hunter-gatherers and constantly on the move. We move 90 percent less than our ancestors did 100 years ago. Sitting in front of the TV isn't the only health concern. Any prolonged sitting, such as behind a desk or behind the wheel, can be harmful.
The solution is less sitting and more overall activity. Some suggestions for while you're working include using a standing desk or one designed to be used with a treadmill and holding walking meetings with colleagues. Other, less intrusive options could include taking frequent standing breaks, stretching or walking for a bit every 90 minutes, standing while talking on the phone and taking the stairs.
The bottom line is: keep moving. Your thoughts?
Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N.
Peggy Moreland, R.N.
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I was a legal secretary for 35 years; all I did was sit. It couldn't be helped. Now you say that sitting is (or could be) the reason I'm obese, or have diabetes, and could lead to other serious health concerns. What can you do? People have got to work, and most working requires sitting for long periods of time. If this study is true, then a majority of working America is in danger of coming down with these conditions. I just don't believe it!
Thanks a lot guys... learn so much from u
So right. Not to mention the risk of blood clots. I've been setting a timer on my desk. Every 60 minutes. Time to walk around. Good for the brain too.
I think that is a good idea, but I also have diabetic neuropathy in both feet, and pain in my left knee from a total knee replacement surgery, and now there's arthritis in that knee so it is very difficult for me to walk for very far or for very long. I would like some suggestions for this too. Thank you
I try to keep one foot off the floor. it keeps leg muscels active and should be less bad than just sitting.
Dear Nacey, thank you so much for all the pratical you and your reading public are offering. I have to agree absolutly in my case, sitting for long periods is a big factor in my life. i am going to use the sugestions offered to try and do better. Many thanks to all.
Neanderthals were not our ancestors.
What a great article. I never thought of the time I spend sitting as particularly unhealthy till now. The treadmill and standing desk ideas are things easily implemented. Any other ideas from commenters?
Move and especially after a meal!!! Eat whole,real food. Exercise at '"Curves" three times a week. Eat main meal in middle of day. Eat a healthy light supper. I am 77, and with medications,vitamins and insulin have keep my numbers in order for several years. This works for me!!!! Also sing in two choirs!!!!
I fully agree with this article as I believe my diabetis came from sitting at the computer for hours at a time without taking a break. furthermore, the lack of activity also caused other problems below my knees,
Losing weight can be more difficult on insulin but can be done. I would suggest seeing a dietitian that can figure out your total daily calories needed to lose weight. Also see a CDE that can show you how to adjust your insulin so you are not over insulinizing and can adjust the insulin dose down as you lose weight.
I am 68 yrs old and have had T2 since age 51 (17 years). I have done vigerous exercise for most of those years, ie. running, weight lifting, and sprints. I squeezed in 45 minutes at lunch time each day. Unfortunately I sat at a stressful job the rest of the day and sat for an additional 2 hour commute. My diet was well managed during this period.
My diabetes progressed from Metformin only to 3 types of oral medicines and finally in January 2012 to insulin (Novolog 70/30). I retired in Nov 2010 and am now less stressed and more active, but it is too late! The years of sitting & stress have taken their toll. I have gained 25 pounds since starting the insulin and have trouble taking off more than 5 or 6 pounds. My doctor told me and the manufacturer states that the mixed inulin can cause you to gain weight as it takes the glucose out of the blood and stores it in fat cells.
Do you have any suggestions? Thanks. Bob
T2, age 72 with very painful osteoarthritis in both knees.Use a cane. Overweight, I am close to my goal of losing 10% of my weight. But required movement - chores, grocery shopping, cultural life, is about all the movement I can just barely handle. So would additional daily pain give me ?
After a move in 2007 I was diagnosed with T2 at the age of 59. I tried to see why it showed up then, also my weight gain. I worked at home. After trying all the things recommend more exercise at the gym nothing seem to bring my weight down. Due to some financial difficulties in 08, I started to get free WiFi at the coffee shop. I have many coffee shoppes close by but I chose to walk to one that gives me a two mile walk there and back. In my weight in I lost 25 lbs from 200 down to 175. I have managed to keep it off with this as my almost daily routine. This walk daily and sometimes more walk has helped immensely. I also use some other techniques to make the walk both more interesting and add to my cognitive development. Do take a small digital camera along on every walk. I am lucky I live in a moderate climate like Vancouver, BC
So what does a diabetic who cannot exercise do? Those with disabilities, in wheelchairs etc. what do we do, a fat backside is the least of our problems!Da un8a
I knew a new aspect to day that sitting is new smoking. I liked the dictum very much.I am not a sitter. I walk mostly in the morning for more than one hour and walk frequently in the daytime and evening.But whatever may be ,the news is interesting and beneficialtoo.
I'm 55 and a child of the 60's. I walked daily to and from school,(1/2 mile)One way it was uphill. Walked all through college --never had a car until after graduating from college. Not that many obese young people in the 70's. Used a bicycle or walked, or hitched a ride with friends or family. Basically a sedentary person until my late twenties when I began walking and jogging. Got into top shape. Then had a child at 32. Never took time to resume my daily exercise, but devoted myself to mothering. Never took off the baby weight. Diagnosed last year with type II diabetes. Changed eating habits, still working on activity level to increase it. Thanks for the reminder. But just by improving diet, my A1C has gone from 6.7 to 5.7 to 5.4. I'm very pleased, but not resting on my laurels. Sadly, our children's generation is the one that is the MOST inactive. They are chauffuered everywhere and get vehicles in their teens. We protect them from the crazies by not allowing them to travel much on foot. They really need to exercise. They are the computer and texting generation and sit more than any of we older folk have done. Let's keep them warned about the consequences if they do not step up their level of activity. They look upon diabetes and obesity as an 'old peoples' disease. Thanks.
I've also seen studies that say sitting is still really bad even if you exercise every day. Very disheartening as I already have T2' go to the gym 3x/week, exercise in the pool, walk the other days. I blamed high stress of my job for getting heavier and T2 but maybe it was just sitting at my desk forever...
Absolutely! This is something I recall Oprah advised her audience years ago. She said, "Move, America!" I'm afraid we have become a bit lazy, looking for all kinds of conveniences to get us through our day. For example, I see large crowds of people waiting for an elevator, when the stairs are a few feet away! I try to do some kind of activity each and every day even it's for as little as 20 minutes. I'm sure 30 or more minutes would be better, but at least I've developed the mindset that some activity is a MUST just like breathing, and it's non-negotiable now.
Iam a type II diabetic who could not get my alc numbers down and other markers. However I went on a modified Paleo diet plan which includes moving as much as possible. I went from a 7.4 alc to 5.8 alc and this to me is amazing... no one told me about this program and it has been around forever. Keep moving at least a few minute's every hour to build up the strength to say up longer... smile.
I really like your E-mails. You talk about things I never think of. Like how much I sit. I am moving soon and I hope to have a place better suited to walking and biking. Where I live, in the bottom of a canyon, has no room on the roadsides for safe walking.
Thanks for checking Nancy!
Sorry Ryan, it was a comment in an article I read and I can't find the reference. Probably not statistically significant but it makes a good point. 100 years ago exercise was part of daily living. An article from NPR states, "Researchers say 100 years ago, people got five times more exercise every day, just in the course of daily living." Thanks for keeping me on my toes. Nancy
I'm curious where you got the figure that we move 90% less than people did 100 years ago.
Please let me know when you have a chance.
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