From our patient letter  "Pain Free News"

Last updated on January 27, 2021

Sitting is new smoking grapic

According to many recent news stories, sitting is the new smoking.
So resting on your behind is as harmful as filling your lungs with tar and smoke?

Seems unlikely.

But the public health industry has decreed that we all need to worry about our chair time. So expect many more news stories that big up the scary fact that we sit down too much (mostly because we have to sit at work and sit to drive).

And it's as bad as smoking... oh my God! Excuse me for being a little cynical.

Smoking is just about the only factor that has ever been definitively linked to ill health (thanks to Richard Doll's work in the 1950s). Everything else you can argue about: obesity, drinking a glass of wine, and definitely sitting.

Connecting the risks of sitting with the gold standard work on smoking implies that the science behind both is equally sure. But this is misleading as there is nothing definitive about this sitting stuff. Sitting is just a normal body position,  not a life threatening activity.  

Surely it is the reduced fitness from prolonged inactivity that does the damage?  All the hooplah directed at  sitting is very misleading. Standing up for hours on end would be just as bad.

From a recent study published in the Lancet:"High levels of moderate intensity physical activity (i.e., about 60–75 min per day) seem to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time."

What's the takeaway from all this?
Don't get stressed by the anti-sitting hype. The important thing is how  active you are at other times during the day. Stay loose and keep moving!

Philip Hambly