Sitting Is The New Smoking – Really?!

Are these children doing something wrong?!

Are these children doing something wrong?!

It has been in the news lately, that sitting is the new smoking. I get it. Our lack of inactivity is making us weak, tired, overweight, and even sick. We were not made to sit. We were given feet for a reason and in ancient times, we were on our feet or lying down to rest so we could recharge to get back on our feet – and then go find food.

Although they have evidence of chairs from 4,000+ years ago, the chair was not common in society until the 16th century. It was created for royalty, to be used as a throne. Those in power were allowed to sit. Before the chair, most of us were on our feet hunting and gathering or running from something trying to hunt and gather us.

But, I’m sure you have heard the phrases, “My dogs are barking,” and “I need to take a load off.”

What do we now tell these folks? “Don’t sit down, you may get cancer!”

Are we going to institute a “Chair Tax,” or ban furniture stores from advertising in magazines?

Doctors prescribe rest to patients – did they ever prescribe smoking?

The reason I bring this up is that sitting is used for those who need really need it, specifically those who are ill, recovering or those who have earned their rest by working hard and exercising each day. No one ever needed to smoke.

Yes, most of us sit all day for work and those of us who do need to think of ways of getting on our feet more (e.g. exercise before and/or after work, standing desks, hourly walks, headsets for phone conversations that allow us to be on our feet, etc.), but to compare it to smoking?

Articles have been written about this very thing:

So, I understand why sitting is being heralded as the new smoking, but I can think of many other things that would make a better and more relevant comparison.

Here are some to name a few:

Soft Drinks
This is something we CONSUME, much like smoking, that contributes to short and long term health problems. This applies to both “real” and diet soft drinks. There is nothing real about them and, much like tobacco, it is the artificial ingredients that do us the most harm. Soft drinks are a choice we make that we can easily avoid by drinking filtered water, much like we can avoid smoking by, say, chewing on a stick or maybe putting a healthy snack in our mouths instead.

Fast Food
Can you name one truly healthy item on any fast food menu? Don’t say salads or sides of fruit. If you are buying them at a fast food joint, they are covered in preservatives so they don’t go bad. Good for their bottom line, bad for your body. Do I need to even bring up the old standards on a fast food menu? If you do find something remotely healthy, it is just a way to get you to come in and buy their standard fare. They know you will eventually come around to their cheaper, quicker food. Not even their bottled water is safe – it comes in plastic that you consume. Which leads me to…

Plastic? But we don’t actually eat plastic! Au contraire. If you use it to store your food or drink, you eat it. We put so much of the bad stuff that comes from plastic (BPA) into our system that it becomes part of our tissue. Personally, I would rather have my own organic tissue than an oil-based substance. Plastic is something you consume and never see or know it, and your health begins to deteriorate. Much like smoking, it leads to cancer.

I am all for a good treat now and then, but come on, America. Once there was a public uproar about fat in our food and the food industry responded by taking it out. Unfortunately, they had to replace the void of taste with something they knew we’d like – SUGAR. They put it in EVERYTHING because they know we will like the taste and want more. Ketchup, salad dressing, bread, fruit, french fries and other vegetables. Some estimate we consume as much as 25-40 times the amount of sugar we consumed 100 years ago. Why is that bad? Both your doctor and dentist would have a field day with that one.

I could go on with other products I think are harmful. These are just the obvious big ones and here’s the clincher for me:

Each of the industries listed above has denied their products are harmful despite strong medical and scientific evidence to the contrary! Does that sound similar to the folks that bring you “smokes”?  Um, yes.

The point I’m trying to make is that these are products we CONSUME – like smoking – which are choices we make. We choose these products because we are either weak, in denial or unaware of their dangers. A combination of all three really.

We can choose not to sit, and I applaud the campaign, but we eventually have to recharge to attack the next day.

So, what is something you need to give up before you kick the sitting habit?

For your own sake, if you can’t give it up for a month, IT OWNS YOU. Do you really want to admit that a soft drink, a fast food restaurant, plastic or a candy bar own you?

Personally, I would choose my favorite chair over all of these…


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