Is sitting the new smoking?

The comparison between sitting and smoking might seem an extreme one. Yet there are clear parallels.

After all, there was a time when smoking was deemed relatively harmless… before the curtain was pulled back, and the extent of the associated health risks was revealed. 

In the same way, our sedentary lifestyles are coming under ever-closer scrutiny… as we start to witness the full extent of the impact on our wellbeing.

It’s a common assumption that the most damaging impacts relate to the spine.  This actually says something about how many of us see our bodies.

            “We have long assumed that the skeleton was a strong ‘frame’ on its own, and that the muscles ‘hang’ off the skeleton.

            The reality is that the bones ‘float’ in the soft-tissues, with their position determined by the tensional balance in the fascia.” [1]

This fascia, (the connective tissue in our bodies), which is so vital to our wellbeing, is negatively impacted when we sit for extensive periods.[2]

So too is our diaphragm, whose elasticity can shrink from 5 to 8 inches down to just 1 to 3 inches. With a limited capacity to breathe fully and deeply, this acerbates the damage.

So what steps can we take? 

> Do frequent stretches, twists and body rotations, while seated.

> Get fresh air frequently and use breaks to stretch, rotate your shoulders backwards and to take long, deep, full breaths using your diaphragm.

> We can explore ways to enhance our immune system and lymphatic system – by making time to move (walk, run or dance) in the ways our bodies were intended to move.

If you are interested in learning more about how ‘Resilience in the Digital Age (Proper Posture and Ergonomics) – be it as a ‘Lunch & Learn’ session, as a webinar or as a bespoke nine-week programme, please get in touch.

NB: Posture and movement work is integral to how I work with clients, yet it’s not my only focus. Far from it. I believe it’s vital to our wellbeing to take a holistic approach that also incorporates breath work and nutrition.

[1] Thomas W. Myers, hfp://

[2] if we sit for long periods of time, it puts a strain on the fascia and dehydrates it, which in turn creates a biochemical reaction.




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