Have you come across any reading material recently that says ‘Sitting is the new smoking’ when it comes to causing ill health or even death? Apparently, many adults in the UK spend more than seven hours a day sitting or lying, and this typically increases with age to 10 hours or more. You can see why this would be the case in these computerised/TV days, but rarely do we think about it.
I sit on my derriere for quite some time each day, whether that’s writing articles, seeing clients or lecturing. So, when I saw this rather alarming fact about sitting, and I saw it more than a few times, I thought I’d better look into it.
But then life got in the way and I’ve got a new, but small, vegetable patch to tend and I didn’t do anything else about it.
However, what was good was the fact that it sparked the thought I should move more. I then realised I was already moving much more due to said vegetable patch. The fact it’s on quite a slope also helped (as my calf and thigh muscles will confirm occasionally) as I go up and down with my watering can! This allayed my fears about sitting too much so, again, I could procrastinate about reading up on the ‘Sitting is the new smoking’ stuff.
Feeling rather virtuous that I was moving around a bit more, I also reminded myself to get out of my chair and have a quick stretch or walk around every now and again – always a good excuse to get another cuppa! It has to be said, that even after a few days I was noticing a small difference in my energy levels, which nicely improved on an ongoing basis.
Can you imagine my annoyance then, when I read that researchers from Canada, America and Australia say that: “While research does suggest excessive sitting (roughly more than eight hours a day) increases the risk of premature death and some chronic diseases by 10-20%, this pales in comparison to the risks associated with smoking. Smoking increases the risk of premature death, from any cause, by approximately 180%.” They go on to say: “…and a more than 1000% increased risk of lung cancer”.
For a fraction of a moment I felt I’d been led down a garden path. But then I re-read what they said, and although sitting isn’t anywhere near as bad as smoking, it’s still bad and I therefore felt a bit happier about all my moving around.
For those of you who are interested, apparently sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.
So, shall we stand up and have a bit of a stretch? Even my 92-year old Mum can do that with the help of her Zimmer! And if anyone wants to give up smoking, I know quite a few people who can help.
Nicola Griffiths is Proprietor of the Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre in Dyer Street. www.cirencesterhypnotherapycentre.co.uk ceID:a.instan