Sitting really is the “new smoking”

By Danielle, Team One Degree Health | Watercooler Wellness

health culprit 2 2 - Sitting really is the “new smoking”Let’s talk about the “New Smoking” – which I bet you’re doing this very minute.

We’ve all have heard that smoking is the top factor in causing preventable deaths. So, what could you possibly be doing right now that would have experts equating it to the harmful effects of smoking?

The answer is what you’re regularly doing in that office chair, on your couch, on the subway, in your car, and in the plane. It’s Sitting.

Sitting is actually putting you closer to your death.


You may be hearing in the media and various articles that we should stand more and sit less, but most of these sources are not sharing how crucial and critical it is for us to reduce how much we sit every day.

Experts are finding that there is a direct relationship between the of time you spend sitting and your all-cause death rate, independent of your level of physical activity.

Translation: Your mortality rate is directly correlated to how much you are sitting versus not sitting, regardless of whether you’re hitting the gym after work.

These findings should make you upset as you’ve been led to believe that it’s okay to spend all day hunched over at your computer and then go do some crazy 30 to 60 minute exercise to make up for your sedentary day, but this is simply not true.



We are encouraged by doctors / media / your significant other to participate in some level of exercise for our heart health; however, what we really need to be concerned with is how we are treating our body the other 11 to 15 hours a day when we’re not sleeping, eating, or exercising.

A study done by the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that women sitting for 6+ hours a day are 40% more likely to die from a chronic disease than those that sit less than 3 hours a day.

A separate study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine of 220,000 adults confirmed those findings, and additionally concluded that men and women who regularly sit for 11+ hours are 40% more likely to die within 3 years.

Both of these studies proved there is a direct relationship between the hours you sit and your all-cause mortality. This correlation was consistent across gender, age group, weight, and levels of physical activity.

Don't become part of that 40% statistic, dying of a chronic disease within 3 years because you sat too much. #onedegreehealth #sittingisthenewsmoking  #watercoolerwellness

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If 11 hours of sitting sounds too long and unlikely for you, let’s do a quick self-check together:

  1. COMMUTE: How long is your work commute? And are you sitting in a car, a train or a bus? Don’t forget to multiply by two, to account for you morning and evening commutes.
  2. MEETINGS & DESK DWELLING: How many hours a day do you spend sitting at your desk, in meetings, or in conferences?
  3. MEALS: Assuming you sit while eating, add another 2 – 3 hours there too.
  4. LEISURE TIME: When you get home, do you head for the couch or your office den?
  5. MISC: Don’t forget to add on the time spent sitting on planes, in airport lounges, in your hotel room or hotel restaurant/bar.

WHAT’S YOUR DAILY SITTING TOTAL?        ___________ hours

As you can see, sitting for 6 to 11+ hours a day can happen pretty easily.

So now that you know how harmful sitting really is, what can you do to reduce your risk of death related to sitting?

Well, the obvious answer is to stand more. But, the hard part is figuring out how to stand when you’re needing to be in meetings or at your computer.

Here are a few tips from our One Degree Health Shift™ program’s “Cheat Sheets” to get you out of that chair and standing more:


1. Create a standing desk.
Standing desks do not need to be this elaborate piece of furniture – there are plenty of ways to modify your existing workspace into a healthier one without breaking the bank. Honestly, it can be as simple as putting your laptop on a pile of books or a box. Here’s our favorite under $50 adjustable laptop stand to put on your desk, as well as these freestanding versions.

2. Incorporate standing meetings whenever possible.
Studies show that standing and adding movement actually stimulates your brain, increasing productivity and creativity. So why not get more out of your team meeting by standing, instead of sitting?

3. Change your chair.
If standing at your desk isn’t quite as feasible for you in your job, then changing out your desk chair might be a better option for you. You can get some of the benefits of standing from ergonomic seats that stimulate your core and back muscles. A couple of our favorite seating options are the modern ball chair and this wobble stool.


"Your mortality is directly correlated to how much you are sitting vs not sitting, regardless if you go to the gym." #onedegreehealth #sittingisthenewsmoking #worklife #watercoolerwellness

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I hope this deep dive into the “New smoking” has emboldened you to look for ways you can start standing more every day. 

You now know that this isn’t about getting a standing desk because it’s become “hip and cool,” but is really about the urgency needed to change to your sitting habits now.


Did you like this blog? Then you’ll really like this ebook:
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About the Author

Danielle is an Executive Health Coach, specializing in integrative and functional health. Like many ambitious professionals, Danielle fell into the trap of the Ultimate Paradox: prioritizing work and sacrificing current health for years; until 2012, when in just 30 days, her body filled up like a balloon, gaining 20 pounds as result of inflammation from work stress and poor health habits. After reclaiming her health through an integrative approach of simple habit changes, she now shares this roadmap to wellness with other busy professionals through engaging and practical workshops and online courses. In 2016, she left her Fortune 500 executive role to found One Degree Health, a wellness education company that produces personal development programming and online courses, grounded on her core philosophy that simple yet powerful "one degree" micro-changes integrated into your typical day can lead you towards your best health.