Sitting is the new Smoking

In a 2014 New York Times article is was quoted, "the more hours that people spend sitting, the more likely they are to develop diabetes, heart disease and other conditions, and potentially die prematurely- even if they exercise regularly."

What's the science behind this claim?

A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that when you sit all day, your telomeres, which are the tiny caps on the ends of your DNS strands get shorter. As telomeres get shorter, the rate at which the body ages and decays speeds up. Conversely, those who sat less, had longer telomeres and seemed to be growing physiologically longer!

The average person will sit for 9.3 hours a day, compoared to 7.7 hours of sleeping. It has become the norm and no one questions this, it's "just part of the job". If we are reducing our life expectancy, from shortened telomeres, what else does sitting do to our bodies? Well, after 1 hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat declines by as much as 90%. The death rate associated with obesity in the US in now 35 million. In Australia they did a study showing that for each additional hour of television a person sat and watched per day, the risk of dying rose by 11%. In addition, people who sit all day are more prone to depression, and to feeling blue. These facts are alarming, so what can we do to better our chance of prolonged life?

MOVE! I recently listened to a TED talks, and the massage was "next time you have a meeting- make it a walking meeting- and let the ideas flow while you walk and talk. Some companies have gone as far as setting up "walkstatioins", a desk with a treadmill built right into it, but this comes with a cost. So if your company is not going to purchase a walkstation or standing desk, there are still lots of things you can do to minimize the health hazards of sitting. 

- Take the stairs at your work place, instead of the elevator 

- Drink lots of water (not only is this good for you but it will increase your bathroom breaks)

- Set an alarm on your computer to stand up and reach for the ceiling every half hour (this decompresses your spine as well

- Instead of e-mailing a co-worker, go talk to them

- Go for a walk on lunch