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Experts: sitting all day worse than smoking

Posting in Cancer

You'd probably stand more if this was your work chair

The latest research from an obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic has found that sedentary work days create massive health risks even worse than smoking and that daily exercise cannot negate the damage caused by excessive sitting.

Dr. James Levin, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic recently told NBC News that sitting for nine hours a day in an office environment is as equally bad for your health whether you go home and plop down in front of your TV or hit the gym for an afterwork workout. Damage is still being done whether you are skinny or obese, he said.

An AARP report from earlier this month also cautioned that sitting too much may harm health. The report cites "mounting evidence" of chronic disease being associated with sitting - from cancer and diabetes to obesity. It also found that people who exercise daily are at risk. Elderly people are among the worst offenders.

The solution? Get up and be active during the work day. My office doesn't use instant messaging, so we all get up and speak to one another if we are not in opening seating where it's easier to communicate. It may seem anachronistic to physically walk across the office, but it's good for your health and a way to learn brevity.

British researchers suggest working standing up. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense famously worked while standing up. He may have been onto something - the Brits found that people who stand more are fitter and burn more calories per day. You can lose as much as 8 pounds per year standing three more hours per day.

(image credit: studio-international.co.uk)

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— By on January 23, 2013, 1:59 PM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure