Is Sitting “the New Smoking”?

is sitting the new smoking

Is sitting on a chair really bad for you?

There is a recent decipherment that indicate, “Sitting is the new smoking” But is this really true?  Research reveals that you can reduce your chances of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and back pain, all with one simple lifestyle change: reduce the time you spend sitting. 

Living a sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous to your physical and mental health. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, then you have a higher chance of being overweight, developing heart disease and experiencing depression and anxiety.     

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How does a sedentary lifestyle affect your body?  

Humans are designed to stand upright and not sit for a long period of time. Besides, your heart and cardiovascular system work more effectively when it spends a significant portion of time throughout the day standing and walking. Your bowel will function more efficiently when you are upright. This is one reason why people who are bedridden in hospital experience problems with their bowel function. However, the health risks of Sitting Too Much are as follows: 


Moving your muscles will help your body digest the fats and sugar intake. If you spend a lot of time sitting, then digestion will not be as efficient, so you end up retaining those fats and sugars in your body. 

Hips and back 

Sitting will cause your hip flexor muscles to shorten, which can lead to problems with your hip joints. 

Sitting for long periods can also cause problems with your back, especially if you consistently sit with poor posture or don’t use an ergonomic chair. 

Heart disease 

Sitting for a long period of time has been linked to heart disease. One study reveals that men who watch more than 23 hours of television a week have a 64 per cent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than men who watch 11 hours of television a week. 


Studies reveal that even five days lying in bed can lead to increased insulin resistance in your body. This will cause your blood sugar to increase above what is healthy. 

Varicose veins 

Sitting for a long period of time can lead to varicose veins or spider veins. 

Deep vein thrombosis 

Sitting for a long period of time can cause Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), for instance  during a long plane or car trip. Deep vein thrombosis is usually a blood clot that forms in the veins of your leg.   

DVT is a serious health issue, because if part of a blood clot in the leg vein breaks off, it can cut off the blood flow to other parts of the body such as your lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism. 

Stiff neck and shoulders  

If you spend a longer period of time in front of your computer or laptop, this can lead to pain and stiffness in your neck and shoulders. 


Excessive sitting causes 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer. The other cancers which are linked to inactivity are lung cancer (37,200), prostate cancer (30,600 cases), endometrial cancer (12,000 cases), and ovarian cancer (1,800 cases). 

How can you protect your health from the dangers of sitting?   

Be active at work  

You can try to move around at work, such as: 

  • Walking or cycling to your workplace instead of using your car. 
  • If you take public transport, then you can get off one stop early and walk further. 
  • If you use your own vehicle to reach your workplace, park further from the entrance so that you can walk the rest of the way.
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift. 
  • You can walk over and talk to your colleagues instead of emailing them. 
  • You can take your lunch break away from your desk and enjoy a short walk outside if you can. 
  • Move your trash bin away from your desk so you have to get up to throw anything away. 
  • You can use a speaker phone for conference calls and walk around the room during the calls. 

You can reduce your health risk by – incorporating some lifestyle changes. However, we recommend you to enroll for a Corporate Health Checkup package with Health Atmos. If you want to know more about customized Health Screening programs, fill in the form and our executive will help you with an exclusive plan for your organization. Stay Healthy! Stay Safe!