Is Sitting the New Smoking? The Harmful of Sedentary Life?
Work Wellness

Is Sitting the New Smoking? The Harmful of Sedentary Life?

|Feb 22, 2022

People worldwide use newer technologies to make their lives more comfortable as time passes, and many of those technologies make it easier for you to stay all day sitting without skipping any of your daily tasks.  

Although many see sitting as something relaxing, doing it for a lot of time could bring you severe health issues. Sedentary activities, such as watching movies on your couch, taking a break for work, or even office work take a toll on your back, neck, and legs.  

Experts recommend people, regardless of who they are, to not sit for extended periods; others still see it as something normal and spend all day without doing any active physical activity. Therefore, and because of all the problems sitting brings you, some call it the new smoking.  

The problem with it is that the majority of people see smoking as something bad for their bodies, but many others still think sitting is something ideal for everyone. Here, you can find some information about how bad it is to sit for a long time and some tips on how to stop doing it! Let’s learn why sitting is the new smoking with us!

 Why Is Sitting the New Smoking? How Everything Looks on Numbers

When we say sitting brings you numerous issues, we don’t mean only things like adopting a bad posture. Some of the problems that having a sedentary lifestyle give you represent a risk to your overall health and change how you see things.  

Learning more things about something is easier when you look at the statistics of it, and the same happens when studying how dangerous it is to sit all day. You may ask yourself “why is smoking new?” and “is it true that sitting is the new smoking?” Here are some of the things that lead people to say that:   

Weight Issues

Weight Issues sitting is the new smoking

Lipoprotein lipase is one of the enzymes that allow you to get rid of fats, so having any trouble with it makes you gain an unhealthy amount of weight in short periods. Sitting all day reduces the body’s natural production of that enzyme by 90%.  

Your body stores all the fat that enters your body if it doesn’t have the right enzymes to break it down, and that’s what makes you gain that much weight when sitting for a long time. This issue intensifies when the person sitting doesn’t engage in any physical activity. 

25% of American adults sit for more than eight hours daily, and 44% of them never work out or play sports. Thus, the average American is only active for less than 20 minutes every day. Fortunately, you can solve many of these issues by jogging for at least one hour daily.  


This is when things worsen since sitting for long periods can make you develop dangerous physical diseases; one of them is diabetes. Sitting on a hard chair for too long increases the risk of diabetes by 112% due to the insulin resistance it produces. 

Developing insulin resistance makes you more prone to get type two diabetes and obesity, which are simultaneously two of the main causes of several heart diseases. You may see this as something not possible or may be afraid because of how much you sit.  

The truth is that the problem doesn’t come from sitting for a long time one day but rather from doing it all week.  

Heart Diseases

Heart Diseases sitting is the new smoking

As we mentioned before, sitting for a long time makes you develop some triggers of cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Not only does the risk of getting those issues increase but also the risk of dying from them increases by 90%.  

Things don’t end there, since the risk of dying from any other cause increases by 49% too. The reason for all those things to happen is you don’t allow your body to move and keep every part of it working properly.  

Back and Neck Pain

Developing back and neck pain may not seem that dangerous compared to the other things we mentioned on this list, but it’s still something bad for your overall health and productivity. Firstly, back pain doesn’t let you work properly, which indirectly reduces your work performance.

In the worst-case scenario, bad posture issues get you spine diseases for life, which makes you unable to ever work again. Office workers need to sit for long periods, so these problems are something common for them. However, some employees use things such as active sitting or an ergonomic stool to ease the issue. 

Dangers of Sitting

Dangers of Sitting sitting is the new smoking

Now that you read why sitting is the new smoking on numbers, it’s time to make a list to summarize everything more simply. These are the main dangers of sitting:  

  • Producing diabetes 
  • Obesity 
  • Developing heart diseases and cardiovascular events such as strokes 
  • Back and neck pain 
  • Worsening blood circulation on your legs 

One of the primary issues of getting any of those problems is that they consequently produce more health problems, which causes a chain reaction of sitting for too long symptoms. 

Tips to Counter the Negative Effects of Sitting

Let’s learn how to remove the dangers of sitting with us! Naturally, you can’t stop sitting for life since many of the activities we do daily require us to sit for a while. Additionally, standing all day is not something good for you, either.  

The best thing you can do is to find a gray spot between the two in which you can sit for a healthy amount of time but also engage in physical activity that helps you stay active throughout the day.  

Reducing the time you sit is possible. Read some ways to sit for less time:  

Set Timers and Alarms

Set Timers and Alarms sitting is the new smoking

This may seem odd for some people, but timers and alarms to stop sitting can help you a lot in the short and long term. If you need to work at your office and need to get something done on your computer or desk, set a one-hour timer for you to finish up everything within that time.  

Doing that not only helps you sit less throughout the day but also improves your productivity and makes you work faster. Sometimes, it’s not that we can’t work faster or need a lot of time to do it but rather that we distract ourselves a lot, which makes us sit more than we should. 

Use those alarms to also take a break from working and sitting. Most people see sitting or reclining on their chairs as a break, but you can take a break while standing.  

Whether it’s by talking to your peers, watching something on your phone, or drinking some coffee, it’s something excellent as long as you can do it while standing. You may not see the benefits of it on day one, but standing is the ideal position for the human body, so standing more helps you stay active at your office.  

Standing more also helps you correct posture issues and ease back and neck pain. It does that by keeping your bones aligned and muscles engaged, and that consequently improves your legs’ blood circulation. This is perfect for office workers, programmers, and gamers. 

Work Out

Work Out sitting is the new smoking

If you can’t stop sitting the time you do because of your work schedule, you can save some time for working out or playing sports. Doing that doesn’t shadow the fact that you sit for several hours, but it gives you the physical activities you need to stay healthy.  

Working out also brings countless benefits to your physical and mental health. One of them is releasing endorphins, which are mood controllers that help you stay happy throughout the day and reduce the stress and anxiety of working.  

You don’t have to worry if you can’t afford to pay for a gym subscription. 

Things such as jogging or even going up some stairs are excellent activities that engage your muscles in the best way possible. Home exercises are always on the table. Playing sports such as football, soccer, basketball, and even swimming are perfect for that matter. 

Nonetheless, it’s of no use to work out for 30 minutes and then sit for eight hours straight. You don’t need to work out all day, either, but one or two hours a day are enough to counter the negative effects of sitting.

Use Ergonomic Products

Use Ergonomic Products

Although sitting all day brings dangerous disadvantages to your life, ergonomic products reduce those issues a lot and encourage you to have a healthier lifestyle. When we talk about ergonomic products, we mean a standing desk, ergonomic chair, or anything that improves your sitting posture on a chair.

Remember the spine issues we talked about before? Some of them are triggered by the posture you have while sitting. Ergonomic items are meant for you to use and stay in an ideal and healthy position in your body, which allows office workers to sit for more time without it representing a risk for them. 

Ergonomic chairs and standing desks are excellent for this matter. As for the former, these chairs offer lumbar support, which makes you more comfortable while working and helps you stay in a healthy position for your back health. 

Speaking about the latter, these products allow you to work while standing whenever you want. The best thing about these products is they are height adjustable, so you can switch between standing and sitting any time you want. An example of a perfect product for your back is the Autonomous Autonomous Chair Ergo

This Autonomous chair has everything you need to work all the time without sitting being an issue for you. The reason for that is its dynamic design that encourages to do several micro-movements while working. Apart from that, you can adjust almost all its features whenever you want. 

Ergonomic stools are also decent for this matter, but it’s not that common to see them in office buildings. Although this seems a little informal for an office, balance balls are also excellent for your back, so you can try one for your home office if you feel comfortable with it.  

Active Sitting

Active Sitting

Active sitting is also an excellent alternative for anyone suffering from the negative effects of sitting. This activity consists of adopting sitting strategies or using office equipment that encourages you and allows you to move a lot while working, and that includes reclining and moving to another place without standing from your chair. 

This is not only good for people who sit a lot but also something doctors recommend people do physical rehabilitation to do. People also know active sitting as dynamic sitting, and it’s something ergonomic chairs support excellently since some of them are even designed to encourage micro-movements.  

Static sitting is the opposite of active sitting, and it’s what makes you develop all the issues we mentioned in this article. Thus, you can see those health problems come from the lack of physical activities in your day that sitting for long periods produces.  

We don’t recommend you sit all day, even if you do it on an ergonomic chair, but using one allows you to do it for more time.  

Final Thoughts

Is it true that sitting is the new smoking? Sitting vs smoking; which one is better? Is sitting worse than smoking? Those are some of the questions that may pop into your mind after reading this article.  

Even if people compare sitting to smoking, you can’t put them on the same table since they attack different parts of your body, and you do them under different circumstances. However, the main problem with sitting is people don’t often see it as a threat to their health.  

Both are bad for you, and regardless of which one is worse, you should smoke less if you smoke and sit for fewer hours if you do it all day long.

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