Nov 16, 2022 Sitting is the New Smoking

By: Musola Oniyide, physical therapist, Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center

In today’s society, sitting is the majority of what we do. We sit for work, to eat, while binge-watching shows, and while hanging out with friends. The reasons we sit may vary, but we all spend most of our days sitting. Despite being normal, sitting for so long isn’t healthy. In fact, its effects can compromise our health. This blog will discuss the risks of sitting and what we can do to minimize those risks.

Sitting for a prolonged period of time is associated with many detrimental effects on one’s health. These include increased:

  • increased blood pressure
  • increased blood sugar,
  • increased risk of obesity,
  • increased risk of mortality due to cancer
  • increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease

Additionally, some studies indicate that individuals who sit for at least eight hours, coupled with no physical activity, shared a similar risk of dying if they were obese or were smokers. This information can be daunting since most of our necessary activities related to work or leisure are performed while sitting. Despite this information, it is possible to modify our lifestyles to counteract these potential risks.

It would be impractical to suggest that people maintain standing positions at all times of the day. The findings of research can suggest practical solutions. Some studies have shown that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense exercise negated the effects of prolonged sitting.

Alternative studies indicate that individuals who maintain an active lifestyle have sitting as a minimal risk factor for death. Considering this information, physical activity is the remedy for the risk factors associated with sitting. Other methods would be incorporating movement throughout your day. For example, one can stand every 30 minutes, stand during entertainment (TV, video games, on phone), and incorporate a standing desk (at work and or home).

In summation, there is a remedy for the negative impact of sitting. It would be best to assume a form of consistent physical activity throughout the week such as resistance training, walking, or cycling. Additionally, periodic movement throughout that day can add further protection. Ultimately, the key is to budget time to move and exercise throughout your day. By doing so, you will reap many health benefits.

Musola’s Bio

Musola Oniyide is a physical therapist at the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston with a focused interest in the study of pain science. His primary goal with his patients is to optimize their function so that they can live their best lives. Whenever he is not doing that he is drawing, completing home workout programs, reading graphic novels, playing video games, reading books related to religion and philosophy, or traveling the world.

The Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center Rehabilitation centers are open and ready to help you achieve your goals. With four locations in West Orange, Millburn and Livingston, the experienced and compassionate staff at Cooperman Barnabas Rehabilitation offers adults and children the specialized care they need to resume an active life after surgery, injury or illness. They are committed to providing patients with the most advanced services in a safe, caring and soothing environment. For high-risk patients who are unable to visit in person, telehealth is an option. Patients do not need a prescription for physical therapy services.