Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 6

Is
Sitting
Really
the New
Smoking?
We explore how our
sedentary lifestyle is
harming us-and if it's really
as bad as lighting up

Americans today are
sitting more than ever
before. Consider how
many jobs have evolved
to include computerbased, seated tasks, or how many
homes contain multiple TVs
and computers.
"It is clear that sedentary behavior,
particularly work-related sedentary
behavior, has increased dramatically
over the past two decades," says
Donna Arnett, MD, who co-chaired
a committee developing new health
lifestyle guidelines for the American
Heart Association.
And when it comes to our
health, this behavior has big, negative implications.

How Sitting
Is Making Us Sick
We're sitting, we're working and we're driving-but
we're not counteracting
these sedentary activities
with actual physical activity. In fact, adults typically
spend nine hours per day
sitting, and the majority are
active for less than 30 minutes each day.
When we sit rather
than move around, we
burn fewer calories,
leading to weight gain;
our muscles stay tense,
increasing risk of injury;
and our blood circulation
slows, depriving our body
of nutrients.
These factors contribute
to serious health concerns,
including type 2 diabetes,
heart disease, deep vein
thrombosis and certain kinds
of cancer.

Smoking vs. Sitting
We've heard for years that smoking is
the single worst habit for our health
and can lead to heart disease, stroke
and cancer. As more studies link a sedentary lifestyle to the same diseases,
do we need to start thinking of sitting
as being as bad as smoking?
Not quite.
Unlike sitting, even occasional
smoking harms your health. The

Centers for Disease Control and

6

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Health Beat - Winter 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Health Beat - Winter 2020

Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 1
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 2
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 3
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 4
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 5
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 6
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 7
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 8
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 9
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 10
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 11
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 12
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 13
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 14
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 15
Health Beat - Winter 2020 - 16
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