Your Chair is Killing You

by Leslie Braverman on January 26, 2015

A quiet killer has been unmasked: Sitting. It turns out that sitting is more deadly than smoking.


Have you heard? Sitting is the new smoking.

Many of us travel to work in a seat, then glue ourselves to a desk chair. Later, we get back in the car. At home, we wind down for the night plunked on the sofa in front of a television, multitasking, hunched over a trusty laptop.

Every hour spent sitting is stealing two from your life span. And if you think that because you exercise this doesn’t apply to you—though you deserve congratulations on your good work—sorry, Charlie. This is different from defined activity. Active people who work out, play sports, etc., are at the same risk. If you sit for more than four hours, you’re in danger. More than six hours, kaput! In fact, it isn’t unusual for even the most athletic to spend nine hours sitting. So unless you have a job that keeps you moving, read on.

Scientists are paying more attention to how sitting slows our metabolism, contributes to Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, vascular problems, digestive issues, depression and premature death. The quiet crisis of prolonged sitting also affects hip flexors, the spine and increases inflammation.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”

                — Dr. James Levine, Mayo Clinic—Arizona State University

We want you to be around a long time, fit and feeling fine. Here are few suggestions to conquer sedentary stretches:

  1. Set your phone alarm to remind you to get up from your chair every hour. Modest moves contract muscles, restart your metabolism and get blood flowing.
  2. Stand when you speak on the phone. The act of rising and standing is beneficial. (And it makes your voice sound more confident.)
  3. Hold walk-and-talk meetings. You’ll share the benefit of movement with other people.
  4. Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
  5. At home, take a walk after dinner. Limit Netflix time. Have a short list of must-dos to get you out of your comfy seat every hour: empty the dishwasher, etc.

images-1There are treadmill desks, standing desks and relatively inexpensive ways to make your workstation stand-ready.

So keep up your good exercise schedule and incorporate Pilates, but rather than settling your tail feathers for hours at a time, plan to get up every 60 minutes and move around for 5-10 minutes. The good news: Medical research indicates that at any stage of a disease, at any stage of life, you can get active and prolong your life.



Pacific NW Pilates is studio, school and fitness family under one roof. Click to learn more about our education courses and workshops, private studio sessions and group classes. Or call Brette for details: (503) 292-4409.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kimberly Berg January 29, 2015 at 8:29 am

Thank you for posting it, so important for people to know this. I shared it on my facebook page.


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