Have you heard the new phrase “quit the sit” or “sitting is the new smoking”? Well, this is big news
If you Google “quit the sit” or “sitting is the new smoking” you’ll find many articles
about the importance of movement and the dangers of sedentary lifestyles. For example, in the LA Times
article, “Don't just sit there. Really.” the chair is blamed for rising rates of obesity, in addition to chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
So is junk food to blame for the current obesity epidemic or is it the chair?
It’s probably a combination of both. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity rates among adults and youth
increased dramatically starting in the 1980s through today. What changed in the 1980s? Was it the rise of processed junk food and super sized fast food meals? Or maybe it was the surge of screen time while using computers, video games, the internet, TV, movies, video cassettes and then DVDs. Along with screen time comes more sitting.
The LA Times article goes on to describe what happens when we sit. We’re not burning calories or giving our heart a workout, and many processes are shut down when we sit. Enzymes and chemicals are produced when we get our bodies moving. There’s a lot going on when we move that affects metabolism, which is not just beneficial for burning calories, but also impacts our body’s insulin. Most alarming is an Australian study published in October 2012 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that found watching one hour of TV shortens the lifespan by 22 minutes, compared with about 11 minutes per cigarette estimated to shorten the lifespan of a smoker.
Exercise has positive impacts on psychological well-being. The chemicals called endorphins that are released when we exercise improve mood, increase self-esteem and lower depression.
We need to “quit the sit.” Our bodies are not made to sit all day, they are meant to move all day:
- Get moving every 30 minutes, even if just to walk around the block or down the hallway.
- By just standing up every 30 minutes (even if just for 60 seconds) your body will stay active.
- Of course, it is also important to get 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
But even after 30 minutes of daily exercise we can’t just sit down. We have to keep moving throughout the day! What we eat and how we move our bodies will have a huge impact on our overall health and quality of life
today and for years to come.