Sitting is the new smoking!

Well, unbelievably today is the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, and we’re already practically half way through the year! At least the sun is shining, and summer does seem to have finally kicked in!

We continue our series on the Heroes and Villains that can be found in all aspects of menopause, and today we focus on exercise and keeping in shape. This is particularly vital during menopause, as exercise not only keeps you trim and helps with mood swings and depression, but also keeps away villains like osteoporosis.

  

However, whilst keeping fit and exercising are Heroes, beware an Arch Villain that can undo all the good work! That villain is SITTING!

It can be quite daunting to realise that even if you dutifully go to the gym several times a week and are really fit, it is still not enough to counteract the many hours you sit during the rest of your day…

SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING!

Is it possible to be incredibly fit yet still be at high risk of premature death and disability due to inactivity?

Startling as that may sound, mounting research says, yes, it does!

Dr. James Levine is the author of the book

Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It.

In one of his early speeches, he presented compelling data showing that people prone to weight gain and obesity are those who stay seated for two and or more hours each day.

Slings and Arrows…

The insinuation that sitting was independently harmful, and harmful enough to kill, was so unpopular that his peers sent letters to senior faculty at the Mayo Clinic suggesting he was psychiatrically ill, and he was required to be evaluated by a psychiatrist!

Since then, some 10,000 publications have shown that sitting is harmful to your health, irrespective of other lifestyle habits, including an excellent exercise program.

Dr. Levine notes, “The bottom-line is that if you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve been sitting for too long. We should all be up at least 10 minutes out of every hour.”

Are You Ready to Give Up Your Chair?

The evidence is overwhelming at this point—10,000 studies and growing—that prolonged sitting is devastating to your health. It actively promotes dozens of chronic diseases, including overweight and type 2 diabetes. As a general guideline, if you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve sat too long. Dr. Levine recommends sitting no more than 50 minutes out of every hour. But that’s really a bare bones minimum recommendation. Ideally, you’d want to limit sitting altogether.

If this all seems overwhelming, don’t despair! Just start slowly and gradually decrease your sitting time every week. In fact, it might be a good idea to start a “sitting record” to keep track of your progress and record any health improvements you notice.