OsteoHealth NZ

Prevention is the only cure


Is Sitting the New Smoking?

Posted by c.king@hotmail.co.nz on November 16, 2016 at 9:25 PM

“Is sitting the new smoking?” This thought-provoking question has made the news a lot, thanks to the work done by Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic. He’s compared the negative health effects of sitting to those of smoking — including higher risks of cancers and heart disease — and described our modern lifestyle of desk jobs and too much screen time as “lethal.”


I couldn’t agree with Dr. Levine more about the human body’s need to move. And new findings are showing that for millions of years our human ancestors had much high bone density than we do today.

Anthropologists discovered this when comparing the bones of modern humans and chimpanzees to fossils of extinct humans.


It seems that our modern, lighter, human skeletons evolved only 12,000 years ago — a very short time ago, anthropologically speaking! Specifically, what anthropologists see happening is a thinning of the weight-bearing, inner spongy trabecular bone and a subsequent weakening of bone architecture. This has occurred with the advent of a more sedentary agrarian lifestyle. And although we will never be as active as our foraging ancestors, there’s a lot we can do get in motion.

Here are some ideas for sitting less, moving more:



  • Stand while you are on the phone
  • Use a desk you can stand at or even better — a treadmill desk
  • Take the stairs – at home, at the mall, everywhere
  • Set a timer to remind you to get up and move every hour
  • Walk over to a colleague’s desk, rather than emailing. 
  • Think of where you can shift your own patterns to include less sitting. For example, if you enjoy watching TV, can you watch it standing up? Or at least stand during commercials?
  • Commit yourself to walking at least 15 minutes twice a day and use weighted vest as appropriate


Categories: Article, Prevention, Exercise

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