Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Sitting Is the New Smoking


By Chelsey Bowermaster, Let’s Move Quad Cities

Does sitting really have an effect on your health? “But I’m a runner,” I tell myself. “Surely I can’t be at risk for heart disease or diabetes?” For many years, physicians have stated that individuals who were physically active for at least 60 minutes per day would have lower risk for chronic disease. In 2013, the American College of Sports Medicine reported that people are about 30 percent less active overall on days when they exercise versus days they don’t hit the road or the gym.

Maybe we think we’ve worked out enough for one day, or are granted a day of sitting when boot camp was a little rough that morning. Well, it’s time to stop that line of thinking…

Now experts say most people simply aren’t running or walking, or even just standing enough to counteract all the harm that can result from sitting eight or nine hours a day. We are a bunch of “active couch potatoes!” The American Journal of Epidemiology reports that a man who sits more than six hours a day has an 18 percent increased risk of dying from heart disease, and a 7.8 percent increased chance of dying from diabetes compared with someone who sits for three hours or less a day.

When you sit for more than an hour at a time, your body metabolizes less blood sugar, produces more fat, and slows circulation in your legs.

Are you scared out of your swivel chair yet?! Good! The fix is easy:
1. Stand up at least one time per hour and move around for 1-2 minutes (fill your water bottle, tell your co-worker good morning, make a trip to the restroom).
2. Plan your activity throughout the day — we call this lifestyle activity. Park far away from your office door, take the stairs — add a few lunges and calf raises, do a few stretches while your lunch is in the microwave.
3. Set active appointments. Schedule a walking meeting with staff and co-workers, take your phone outside when calls don’t require a laptop, meet clients/customers at the door, and walk them to your office
4. Get the gear. Purchase a standing desk, sit on a stability ball, and use hands-free devices to keep you mobile.

If you’d like more information on how sedentary behavior affects your health, and ways to improve your fitness, read the report from President’s Council Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

Monitor your workday movement. Win a Fit Bit from Let’s Move Quad Cities. Read more about how the Quad Cities are staying healthy and active by visiting Let’s Move Quad Cities at www.letsmoveqc.com.