Action. Progress. REAL Results.

How sitting is the new smoking


We weren’t born or designed to sit on our rear ends all day long. We were meant to be active, roaming around, walking a bunch, sprinting sometimes and lifting heavy objects from time-to-time.

But instead, we end up on our butts in front a computer screens and TV screens and tablet screens and smartphone screens all day long.

No bueno.

This sedentary lifestyle harms us in a number of crazy scary ways:

  • wrecks metabolic function
  • decreases our ability to burn fat and protect us from cardiovascular disease
  • reduces the effectiveness/action of insulin
  • weakens bones

It even shortens our lifespans.

Australian scientists followed participants for 6.5 years and found that high levels of time in front of the TV was directly associated with increased risk of death from heart disease and other causes. While each hour of TV watching led to an 11 percent increase in death, those who watched LESS TV faired better – to the tune of a 46 percent lower risk of death from all causes.

So essentially … sitting really is like the new smoking. It’s just not good for us … like … at all.

Now, a heads up that the associations from this study were also independent of exercise and the traditional risk factors like smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, waist circumference, and diet. But, you can start to get the picture here about how dangerous it is to be sitting on your butt all day long.

Time to turn off the TV and get up off that couch and get moving.

While doing your part to train 3-4 times per week in the gym helps. Even this amount of physical activity can fall short of the necessary movement we need each and every day to be truly healthy.

So, how do we meet the requirements to avoid some of those sedentary risk factors? Increase your non-exercise physical activity is a big start.

For those of us with jobs in front of a computer, make it a point to get up at least once an hour to walk around, get the blood flowing, stretch the legs out a bit. Find time to add more walking into your daily routine.

Some other ideas:

  • try walking meetings
  • stand at your desk for at least a few minutes/hour … or even try one of those new fancy standing desks
  • skip the elevator … take the stairs instead
  • walk or bike to work
  • take the dog outside for more walks


Another tip: grab a pedometer – aim for 10,000 steps per day. I track my steps and tend to average close to 14,000 steps each and every day. That’s on top of my already busy schedule of coaching bootcamps and one-on-one clients, working out and just being my regular awesome self.

As our nation has slowly evolved into this sedentary lifestyle, we’ve morphed into this non-active group of sitters. Manual labor jobs are few and far in between. To top it off, once we wrap up our 8 hours in front of one screen, we run home to sit on our rumps again in front of another screen. The average US adult sits for an average of six hours per day.

And the average waistline has increase exponentially as a result while sedentary-related diseases and health problems are on the rise, as well. The good news is that we can reverse all of this. So, let’s stop the madness and flip this epidemic around on its head.

Get up. Get moving. Be active.

Find new ways to do just that … and share your new healthy habits on the RealFocusFitness Facebook page.


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Pete Cataldo is a former television sports anchor that has taken his passion for fitness and turned it into his career. As a Certified Fitness Trainer, Certified Turbulence Trainer and Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, Pete is an expert in helping clients burn fat, lose weight and get in the best shape of their lives.
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