You may have heard the somewhat alarming new catch phrase, "Sitting is the new smoking." This may sound extreme, but spending upward of six hours a day with your butt firmly planted in an office swivel chair is anything but innocuous. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle can actually trigger something Sara Gottfried, MD, nicknamed "inflammaging," or inflammation followed by unnecessarily accelerated aging.
"Some of the most obvious signs [of inflammaging] are stiffness, feeling slower than usual, always being tired, and forgetfulness," said Gottfried, who is also the author of Younger, on Mindbodygreen. "Sitting accelerates aging. If you're a woman, that translates as follows: Sitting six hours or more per day increases your risk of cancer by 10 percent and your risk of early death by 34 percent."
Before you flee work for the gym in a panic, know that something as simple as walking around your office once every hour can counteract the negative effects of sitting. Doing so can also boost mood, fight lethargy, improve productivity, and even dull hunger pains. "Even a little bit of activity, spread throughout the day, is a practical, easy way to improve well-being," said Jack Groppel, lead author of a new study on sitting and health. "It's clear that moving matters."
If you'd rather take a more proactive approach, another study found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a high calorie-burning type of exercise, can actually slow down the aging process. This is essentially any workout that "alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest," fitness expert Tanja Djelevic told our sister site Byrdie. Try this HIIT cardio workout from FitnessBlender—no equipment required!
How do you counteract the effects of too much sitting? Share your tips with us below!