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Sitting is the new smoking…and it’s time to quit

From the driver’s seat to the office chair to the couch at home, we are spending more time sitting than ever before, and researchers say it’s killing us.

Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative, has been studying the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyle for years and sums up his findings with a dire warning. “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”

In addition to compromising our ability to move, poor posture from sitting for long periods of time attacks breathing mechanics, causes tight and shortened hip muscles, lower back disorders, neck pains and headaches. Sitting also means you are not moving, and being sedentary can have significant long-term adverse health effects.

However, being desk bound does not mean you are doomed to a lifetime of pain and accelerated decline into poor health. There are a number of simple solutions – sit less and move more.

Stand up

If possible, change to a standing position at work by getting a stand-up desk or add something to raise your computer on your existing desk.

Move every 30 minutes

There are ways you can avoid some of the negative impacts of sitting. Set a timer and stand up and move for two minutes for every 30 minutes you sit. Recapture your posture and reset your body’s mechanics. The longer you remain idle, the greater your chance of defaulting into poor posture.

Not only will you feel better if you stand, research is now showing that you’ll think better and be more productive. Steve Jobs was notorious for holding important meetings while standing.

Stand up and move. Your body will thank you.

Recommended reading:

Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World,by Kelly Starrett, with Juliet Starrett and Glen Cordoza.

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