Sitting is The New Smoking

May 5, 2022 /in /by Natasha Gilfoy

We sit. A lot. We sit at work; we sit to watch TV or when we’re scrolling on our phones; we sit during our daily commutes or long drives to the field; and we sit when we’re visiting with friends and family. In fact, it is estimated that Canadians spend more than half of the day sitting.

Dr. James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, coined the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” as new evidence demonstrates that sitting increases the risks of obesity, back and neck pain, blood clots, depression, heart disease, cancer, anxiety and depression, and diabetes.

What can you do right now to reduce your health risks?

  • Take regular breaks from sitting. Try your best to not be seated for more than one hour without at least a 5-minute standing break.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. It doesn’t have to be rigorous, even a 30-minute walk in and around your house will do.
  • Ask your supervisor about the option for a standing desk.
  • Go for a walk at lunch instead of sitting at your desk.
  • Try a walk and talk meetingHarvard Business Review found that those who participate in a walking meeting reported a 5% creative increase.

As with all activities: Safety first! Watch for slips and falls, traffic, etc.

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By Armaan Gill, B.Sc., EIT

Environmental Engineer-in-Training