Sitting: The New Smoking

Did you know that the average American worker now spends more time sitting each day than they do standing?  The effects are evident. 2/3 of our population is overweight or obese, stress and preventable diseases are at an all-time high and for the first time in U.S. history, our children face the chance of being less healthy than their previous generation.

Sitting has been called by some the new “smoking” and here’s why:

1) Sitting six+ hours a day, increases your chance of death by 40% in the next 15 years compared to someone who sits less than three per day.

2) Sitting makes you fat by decreasing your hourly caloric expenditure and lowering insulin effectiveness.

3) Sitting in chairs is terrible for your posture, joints and breathing patterns.  Creating stress in your shoulders, back and forehead- all which can lead to increased headaches, body pains and mood swings.

Lazy overweight male sitting with fast foodBut the here is hope, and it comes in the form of movement. According to M.H. Anshel (who studied the effects of aerobic exercise and progressive relaxation on responses to stress) “aerobic exercise is effective against stress because it reduces task heart rate and blood pressure with the added advantage of producing performance on the target motor task.”  So what the hell does that mean? It means, taking an hour out of your work day to go for a walk, practice yoga or hit the gym has multiple benefits:

1)  Exercise increases the amount of calories burned in a day– which can curb weight gain and/or decrease it.

2) Job performance will increase and possibly job satisfaction as a result.

A study by Kennedy and Newton (1997) further showed that “high intensity aerobic training can improve your energy while decreasing the feelings of depression and fatigue and can even act as a de-stressor.”

3) Decreased stress. 

Decreasing stress creates a happier and more productive you, can improve organizational moral and makes for healthier people. Moving often can be very powerful, even short movement breaks can have lasting effects. A short movement break can be taken every thirty minutes and can be done before or after with a deep relaxing breath.  Motion has the ability to create emotions and positive ones for the matter. Exercise has the power to change your mood from bad to good and the ability to change your energy from tense to calm. See this attached article for more on the effects of sitting: http://www.businessinsider.com/more-terrifying-facts-thats-sitting-kills-you-2011-5

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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.

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