Sitting Too Long Is the New Smoking: How Moving Can Help Reduce Your Health Risks by Susan Masterson, PhD
You’ve probably read the recommendation to take 10,000 steps a day for good health. Most people get only 3,000 to 5,000 per day. With our computer-working, TV-watching, driving lifestyles, we sit way too much. It's as hazardous for our health as smoking.
In fact, a phrase is making the rounds: "Sitting is the new smoking." Prolonged sitting puts us at risk for heart muscle shrinkage and stiffening, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). So sedentary non-smokers are nowhere near in the clear from heart disease and early death.
There is good news, though! According to the AHA, inactive people can reverse the damage by getting moving. If you're thinking, "I can’t do 10,000 steps," I'm with you. Even better news is that some of the greatest benefits occur when you go from nothing to something. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, studies show that compared to doing nothing, doing something, even if it's less than the recommended daily amounts, can reduce your risk of death by anywhere from 14 to 20 percent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, you can start small, such as three 10-minute chunks per day and build up, if you can, at your own pace. Now is the time to start. Let’s do this together! I'm going to go walking and I hope you do, too.
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