Sitting is the new smoking? Here’s your treatment plan!

According to the CDC, more than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States. So, it’s pretty big news to compare sitting to smoking.

The saying is primarily directed at people who sit for long periods of time at work on a consistent basis.  Here’s what the data says.

  • A 2017 National Institutes of Health study published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine found that “prolonged, uninterrupted bouts” of sitting increase your chance of death.
  • A 2019 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology echoed those findings, linking prolonged sitting to higher risk of mortality from causes such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and even suicide.

What’s the good news? You’re in control. Unlike smoking, balance is key in terms of how sitting affects your health. Here’s a few tips to be intentional about getting up from your desk:

  • Stand up and move around every hour or two hours at the most. Seriously, set a timer. It’ll keep you more alert and productive in the long run. Not only standing up, but adding in a few stretches, neck and shoulder rolls, a short walk, and if attire allows, squats (even partial ones) or push-ups on a wall or in the seat of a chair can help you feel refreshed and focused.
  • Some people really love a standing desk! Or if you’re not ready commit to a full day on your feet, you can get a desk with an adjustable height.
  • Propose standing meetings. Instead of settling in, keep the team on their toes. It’ll convey a sense of urgency and make for a shorter meeting.
  • Before and after work: allocate 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes when you get home to do stretches that address the neck and shoulders as well as the low back, hips and hamstrings. Just a few minutes of intentional stretching can make a real difference!

The MyCharlie app from AllHealth CHOICE offers a lifestyle management solution geared towards helping healthy participants staying active. Prompts and reminders keep exercising at the forefront instead of the back burner! Participants can also monitor their Dynamic Health Risk Score, receive customized health reminders and more.