You may have heard that “sitting is the new smoking.” What does that mean? Much like smoking, a sedentary lifestyle can be bad for your health. With more people working from home now and people not going out to do things as much as they used to, it is as important as ever to make sure you’re getting up and moving around to keep yourself from sitting for extended periods of time. Thankfully, technology can help you out with that. Many fitness apps have a feature that can alert you if the app senses you are going a long time without movement. Here are some ways to tell if you’re sitting too much.
The dangers of sitting too long
Comparing sitting to smoking isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s backed up by facts. The Mayo Clinic analyzed 13 studies about sitting time and activity levels and determined that the risk of dying in people who sit at least eight hours a day with no physical activity is similar to that of smoking and obesity. Extended periods of sitting also make people vulnerable to developing health conditions such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
WebMD reports on more issues you can develop if you sit for too long. These include:
- Sedentary people are about twice as likely to develop heart disease as more active people.
- The brains of people who sit too much can look like the brain of somebody with dementia, making you more likely to develop that condition.
- You can develop deep vein thrombosis, a clot that forms in your leg that can cause serious issues if it breaks off and gets in your lung.
Tips to reduce sitting time
Medical officials suggest breaking up extended periods of sitting with even just one or two minutes of activity can lessen the risks associated with sitting for too long. Ways to reduce sitting time can vary by age group. Here is some advice.
Under the age of 5
For kids under the age of 5, you can reduce sitting time by not leaving them in car seats or high chairs for more than one hour at a time.
Older kids and teenagers
For older kids and teenagers, you can reduce their sitting time by making them “earn” screen time and ensuring their bedrooms are free of computers, TVs, and phones. You can also encourage them to participate in activities like playing sports or skateboarding to get them moving. Looking for a fun kid-led workout? Check out the Sworkit Kids workout collection.
For adults, easy ways of reducing the amount of time you spend sitting include taking stairs or an escalator instead of an elevator and setting reminders on a fitness app or workout app to get up and moving every 30 minutes or a time frame that fits your schedule. You can also use a standing desk while working and stand or walk around while talking on the phone.
For senior citizens, the tips for reducing sitting time are similar to that for adults, but since many seniors are retired and no longer working, there can be additional ways to accomplish the feat. With more time on their hands, seniors can take up a hobby like gardening that gives them a reason to be active and not sit around watching TV.
Sworkit can help you get active
No matter how you do it, the key takeaway is that it is crucial to get up and moving throughout the day to avoid sitting for extended periods of time. Even if you’re limited on time, Sworkit can get you up and moving wherever you are. Try our Office Chair Refresher workout to get your blood moving again after sitting for extended periods, and our app has many other ways to help you be more active and lead a healthier lifestyle.
[NOTE: I changed the phrase you wanted to open the blog to “sitting is the new smoking,” which I think was the intended saying.]