Sitting Is The New Smoking!

Mary Tweed
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If ever there was a good reason to take up a new exercise then now is the time, according to various scientific papers.

Human beings developed as hunter gatherers, not as desk bound office workers and it turns out that sitting can actually cause more harm than good. Pressure exerted on the skeleton when sitting results in aches, pains and poor circulation. Sitting requires little energy output and so while we are sitting comfortably we are also gaining weight. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, says that a person with a desk job may burn just 300 calories a day at work, compared to someone in a physical job who might burn 2,300 calories a day.

"Sitting is the new smoking," says Anup Kanodia, a physician and researcher at the Center for Personalized Health Care at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center. He points to an Australian study published in October 2012 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that found that every hour of TV that people watch, presumably while sitting, cuts about 22 minutes from their life span. This is particularly shocking when contrasted with smokers, who are estimated to shorten their lives by just 11 minutes per cigarette. I’m not advocating smoking, BTW, just putting a sedentary lifestyle into a stark context.

A separate study by University of Cambridge researchers concluded that about 676,000 deaths each year were due to inactivity, compared with 337,000 from carrying too much weight. It is true that the less active you are, the more likely you are to gain weight, but the study proved that inactivity carries a greater risk than a few extra pounds. Even those lucky slim people blessed with a high metabolism are at a higher risk of serious health issues, if they do not exercise, than those who do, but may be a little overweight.

Prof Ulf Ekelund, one of the researchers on the Cambridge study, told the BBC that eliminating inactivity in Europe would cut mortality rates by nearly 7.5%, or 676,000 deaths, but eliminating obesity would cut rates by just 3.6%.

What all of these eminent scientists are really telling us to do is to take up more exercise. And what could be better than joining a Nordic Walking group, where you burn 46% more calories than standard walking, whilst also toning your arms and waist, releasing tension in your neck and back, meeting new people, enjoying the fresh air and beautiful Suffolk countryside.


LA Times


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