Is sitting really the new smoking?

Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic first coined the term, “sitting is the new smoking.” In a LA Times interview, Dr Levine remarked that "Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death."

What’s the problem like in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong workers and students sit on average of 13 hours per day. 

The Behavioural Risk Factor Survey in Hong Kong conducted in April 2016 “revealed that more than a quarter (28.0%) of adult aged 18 - 64 had not done any moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 10 minutes at a time and only less than half (44.6%) had done some vigorous physical activity during the week before enumeration.

Movement of any kind contributes to much more than just weight loss, but can also affect detoxification to osteoporosis to prevention of chronic diseases.

Research may not be able to directly equate the effects of sitting to smoking, but sitting and being sedentary in general certainly has consequences to our wellbeing.

What does the research say:

  • A strong correlation between sitting for high volumes and diabetes.¹
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease when sitting for more than 10 hours per day ² -Sedentary lifestyles have also been associated with higher risk of depression. ³
  • Sitting just 8 hours a day increases your risk of diabetes by 30%. 4

Hong Kong’s average of 13 hours of sit time per day is correlated to our city’s long working hours. So what can you do?

TIPS to get moving

1. Take a mineral salt bath

For Hong Kongers working long hours, taking salt baths or even foot baths is a good option.

Salt baths increases circulation and also replenishes your body with important minerals like magnesium, calcium and zinc.

The Research : How salt baths can benefit you as much as exercise

2. Set alarms to stand up and refill on water during the day.

It’s easy to work for hours without eating or drinking and before you know it, you have only drank a few cups of water by the end of the day and have hardly stood up. Set alarms for every 30-60 minutes so you can get up, stretch your legs and increase circulation with warm water.

3. Take a lunchtime walk around the block or the office building

Take the opportunity to move whenever you can and that includes lunch time. Taking a walk during your lunch break can also help with digestion and clear your mind of the demands at the office allowing you to return refreshed and ‘on’.

4. Start a fitness group in your office.

Staying active is always more fun with others. And research also shows that when you work out in groups or with a partner you are more likely to continue in this healthy pattern.
A fitness or sports team within the office can help build friendships and help improve communication and teamwork when you are back at the office.

Extended Reading:

Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescetarian, Omnivore? How does one choose?

Related Products:

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For example, lavender can help promote calming and restfulness. While arnica can help relieve joint and muscle pain. And eucalyptus can help clear sinuses and bring relief from congestion.

Kneipp bath salts crystals natural structures absorb the essential oils into its pores and is stored there until released in a warm bath.

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Written By Denise Tam, Holistic Nutritionist 

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