Don’t just sit there, doctors say – it’s killing you

WASHINGTON – You might not want to sit down for this. Actually, that’s just the problem. The chair may be killing us.

When it comes to lifespan, sitting is the new smoking, says Anup Kanodia, a physician at the Center for Personalized Health Care at Ohio State University. “Heart disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal issues – when you put all those things together, it’s how long you live,” he says.

His claims are not out on a limb. An article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine could make anyone squirm in their seat.

“Scarily, half an hour in front of the (TV) once over the age of 25 may shorten life by just as much as a cigarette,” it says. “Typical viewing behaviours of several hours per day can reduce life expectancy by years.”

Why is plopping down in a seat so complicated? For starters, the human body wasn’t designed for the couch or the office chair. During most of our history, we’ve been walking or standing. Nature didn’t intend for us to sit for a prolonged period of time, Camelia Davtyan, a clinical professor of medicine, tells the Los Angeles Times.

Sitting all day also lends itself to gaining weight. “When we’re standing, we burn about 50 percent more calories than if we’re sitting,” Kanodia says.

He has several ideas to get us off our – ahem, you know.

  • Set an alarm every hour you’re at work. When it goes off, get up and walk for a minute
  • Stand up when you’re talking on the phone
  • Use a small water glass, forcing frequent trips to the water cooler

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