Sitting Too Long Is the New Smoking: How Moving Can Help Reduce Your Health Risks by Susan Masterson, PhD

Sitting Too Long Is the New Smoking: How Moving Can Help Reduce Your Health Risks

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.

The content on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Donna John
Yes!! So much talk about this now. I sit way too long some days. What I've been doing is trying to take a short break at least once an hour, and a lot of times I'll stand up and work. Great information here. Welcome to the tribe, Susan Masterson . We're excited to have you!
Elisa Schmitz
Excellent tip, Susan Masterson ! I do try to get 10K a day using my Fitbit. I don't always make it, but some days I go over, so I feel I'm doing OK. But, I still need to get out of my chair more and stop leaning into my computer! Thank you for this great reminder. Welcome to our community of writers. Excited to see more from you!
Ann Marie Patitucci
You have reminded me that I really need to get a Fitbit so I am aware of how much I'm walking (or NOT walking), Susan Masterson ! Thanks for this great advice. So glad to have you here!
Jen Imbaro
I just attended a lecture by a professor from Cornell who studies this topic. Movement throughout the day is key! Getting in 5000 steps all at once is not nearly as beneficial. His research actually shows that a 20 / 8 / 2 repetition during the work day is ideal. 20 minutes of sitting, 8 of standing, 2 of movement. This is one reason why height adjustable desks are all the rage. But it’s important not to stand for too long as well, as this puts pressure on the lower back. Movement and change of positions is key!
Susan Masterson, PhD
Thanks for adding this tidbit! I love it!
Susan Masterson, PhD
I'm glad you find it helpful!

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