Is Sitting the New Smoking?
Sitting is something we do A LOT! By some estimates we sit up to 10 hours a day. All of this sitting has impacted our health. In fact, some folks say sitting is the new smoking.
According to Daniel Lieberman, an anthropologist who studies human fitness, there are 2 factors that make sitting a problem. The first is the time we spend too much time in uninterrupted sitting, Lieberman says:
"Just getting up every once in a while, every 10 minutes or so â just to go to the bathroom or pet your dog or make yourself a cup of tea â even though you're not spending a lot of energy, you're turning on your muscles.
âSecond, according to Lieberman, sitting in a chair, with a back, is a relatively new practice. Up until the last few hundred years when we sat it was on the floor, or on benches or stools. Chairs with back rests were used only by nobility and the rich. In many part of the world sitting on the floor is still common. When I lived in Japan I sat on the floor all the time. â According to Lieberman
"The reason it matters for our health is that a seat back essentially makes sitting even more passive than just sitting on a bench or a stool because you lean against the seat back and you're using even fewer muscles, even less effort to stabilize your upper body.
Sitting is a common practice in all societies that Lieberman has studied. You can reduce the deleterious impacts of all the sitting by getting up and moving around, spending some time standing, and sitting mostly on a bench or a stool.
You can listen to the entire podcast below.
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