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Sitting is The New Smoking

By Jennifer Verstreken on April 12, 2021
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We sit. A lot. We sit on the bus; we sit to watch TV; we sit on the stoop and talk to our neighbors; we sit to take a phone call; we sit at our home office desks. In fact, it is estimated that Americans spend more than half of the walking day sitting.

Dr. Levin, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, coined the phrase, "sitting is the new smoking," as a growing body of evidence demonstrates sitting increases the risks of obesity, back and neck pain, blood clots, depression, heard disease and diabetes. To get scientific, the body's metabolism, the process of converting food to energy for normal body functions, building muscle, and repairing damage, slows down 90% after sitting for just 30 minutes. That's almost like getting on 93 South at 4 p.m. on a Friday in summer! During this slow down, the "bad fat" which is normally moved to the muscles, grinds to a halt, remaining in the blood stream where it can turn into solid cholesterol plaques.

Katy Bowman, author of Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement, says working out three times per week for an hour doesn't combat the ill effects of sitting. Don't get me wrong, exercise is good for the body, but bursts of exercise do not negate the time spent on our backsides. Standing for just 5 minutes can get this process going again.

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

  • Walking for at least 30 minutes a day can decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. The risk of developing coronary artery disease can be lowered because walking promotes exercise that allow the heart to pump more blood efficiently.
  • Start each morning off with a hot cup of lemon water. A daily dose of hot/warm lemon water can improve the quality of your skin, provide a good source of Vitamin C, awaken your GI system by aiding in digestion, and promotes hydration. This will help your body be ready for your daily activities, such as jogging and walking.
  • Jumping rope can burn 200 to 300 calories in 15 minutes. It improves coordinator, reduces injury risk, improves heart hearth ad strengthens bone density.
  • Walking doesn't require any equipment. Just put your shoes on and go!
  • You can meet up with friends AND get your steps in. Create a walking group to help increase accountability and support.

Join faculty, staff, and students throughout the month of April as they compete in the Walking Challenge! Bay State College challenges you to a walking contest for the month and commit to walking 10,000 steps each day of the month.

Jennifer Verstreken is the Chair of the RN to BSN program and faculty advisor to the Delta Upsilon chapter of Alpha Delta Nu Nursing Honor Society. Contributing honor society members include Simone Sawyer, Shaquira Coulter, and Cindy Maldonado.


References

Burch, K. (2020, November 3). 5 Health Benefits of Jumping Rope and Helpful Tips for Beginners From Celebrity Trainer Jillian Michaels. Insider. https://www.insider.com/benefits-of-jumping-rope.

Chertoff, J. (n.d.). 10  Benefits of Walking. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-walking#lowers-blood-sugar.

Fiorenzi, R. (2021, January 31). How the Chair May Be Hurting You. Start Standing. https://www.startstanding.org/sitting-new-smoking/#extended.