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Sitting is the new smoking – time to take a stand

By September 12, 2014 No Comments

You’ve already heard that sitting is the new smoking. Now, scientists reveal exactly how it hurts the body, and novel ways to undo the damage (without clocking hours at the gym). You might want to stand up for this.

From standing desks and fitness trackers to groundbreaking pilot experiments in high schools in several cities, the movement to sit less and stand more is gaining momentum. Which is a good thing, because new evidence suggests that the more than eight hours the average American spends sitting every day could be exacting a serious – and previously misunderstood – toll.

Studies have long connected sedentary behavior to poor health, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. But doctors thought those problems could be traced to the fact that people who sat more were probably just not working out very much. The public health messages were in step with that thinking. “Let’s Move!” became a national mantra.

By simply changing your work style, from a chair-based work style to a standing one, you can burn 500 to 1,000 extra calories a day. And it’s not just the calories that count. One study found that regardless of how many hours a group of men spent sitting daily (in their cars or watching TV), those with higher fitness levels – which is, of course, a product of regular exercise – did not show an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, the suite of conditions that include obesity and high cholesterol and are associated with a higher risk of heart disease.

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Take a stand for your health and stand up!