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“1 hour of sitting = 2 cigarettes”


Some recent headlines in the media have pointed out that sitting could be worse for your health than smoking. If you sit more than 2 hours per day please read on.

Sitting is the new smoking

Sitting is the new smoking

More and more studies are now showing the detrimental effects of excessive sitting has on your health. The most surprising thing about this is that it is independent of how active you are.

In short the research is showing that no matter how fit you believe you are, sitting for extended periods of time is linked with increased risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and depression.

1 hr of sitting = 2 cigarettes

A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that on average every hour of sitting you do reduces your life span by 22 minutes. To put that into perspective it is estimated that 1 cigarette shortens your life span by 11 minutes. (1)        

Sitting can bring a visit from Death a lot quicker!

Sitting can bring a visit from Death a lot quicker!

Another study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment with those who clocked up more than four hours a day. Those with greater screen time had almost a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause.  (2)

Sitting increases your risk of cancer. (3)


Researchers concluded that:

  • Women who sat for six or more hours daily faced a 37% greater risk of death as compared to those who sat for three hours or less.
  • For men, the increased risk of death for those who sat at least six hours daily was 17%.
  • Those who did not exercise regularly and also sat for long periods faced even greater mortality rates – a startling 94% higher for women and 48% higher for men.         (4)

NASA’s Answer to the problem.Dr. Joan Verniko’s Forrmer director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division and author of “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals” from her research with astronauts suggests we should get up off the chair 35 times per day.

She says “It’s actually the change in posture that is the most powerful signal, in terms of having a beneficial impact on your health, not the act of standing in and of itself.”

It’s her belief that the non-exercise activities are the foundation of your body tuning and your health, and more important than regular exercise.”

As a chiropractor I know how important it is to move your body properly and regularly, particularly your spine. Sitting is one of the most predominant causes of spinal related issues that can lead to poor muscle control, abnormal nerve function, spinal degeneration and chronic pain. We also know these types of problems are the primary reason why Australians will have to retire from the workforce prematurely due to disability. Spinal conditions are also associated with depression and loss of quality of life.(5)

How to get out of your chair alive…
  • Stand up from your seat 35 times per day, spaced out through the day.
  • Squat daily, we were designed to squat regularly. Rest in the squatting position for a minute at least 5 times per day if not more.
  • Have your spine checked by a Chiropractor
  • Have your desk set up properly and use ergonomic equipment. (5)


Get up and moving… If you don’t move it….. you lose it!


1. Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsm.2011.085662 
“Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis”
2. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2011;57:292.”Screen-based entertainment time, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular events: Population-based study with ongoing mortality and hospital events follow-up.”
3. Reviewing The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II).
4. http://www.cancer.org/myacs/illinois/do-not-just-sit-there
5. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/23/vernikos-sitting-kills.aspx