Sitting is the New Smoking – 5 Simple Steps to Get Off Your Butt!


In Monday’s blog post, I told you about the latest research into sitting and the negative impact it can have on your health. I also mentioned an article for Oblique Magazine in Charleston which I have reproduced below:

Sitting Is the New Smoking

A negative byproduct of the many amazing changes that have occurred over the last twenty or thirty years is that we now spend a huge amount of our time sitting, whether we are at work or play. During research for my book “The eXercise Factor”, I was sitting in my office reading yet another report. But this one was different and what really blew me away was that it applied just as much to me as the millions of inactive people I am trying to get moving.

I learnt that there is growing concern in wellness circles about the negative correlation between the amount of time we spend sitting and our health. Even though I’m very active, exercising on average an hour a day, six days a week, the more I sit, the greater risk for my health. As I actually sit a lot this really freaked me out. In other words I’m an active couch potato!

Adults spend an average of 64 hours a week sitting, which is more than 9 hours a day; hence the provocative phrase “Sitting is the new Smoking”. The really scary part is that while this applies just as much to active people as inactive, because active folks often “rest” more on days they train, this may actually exasperate the problem.

The Good News

The good news is that the solution is simple; we need to do more Baseline Exercise! What is Baseline Exercise I hear you ask? It’s all the unplanned activities of normal living from when we get up to when we go asleep. It includes activities like walking, standing, sitting, housework, lifting light objects but it excludes all planned exercise. Unfortunately over the last twenty or thirty years our Baseline Exercise has been decimated; think remote controls, fast food drive throughs, online shopping, computer games, etc.

When I was a kid during the summer months I used get up early in the morning and I would ride, with my sister, about 3 miles to our local swimming pool; an outdoor pool filled every other day with the incoming tide. We spent the day swimming and diving and running around and then got back on our bikes and rode the 3 miles uphill back home in time for dinner. We didn’t realize it at the time but we actually did a triathlon every day! Compare that to what most kids do today.


Thankfully, you can increase your daily Baseline Exercise and minimize your health risks with these five simple steps to get off your butt today:

  1. Take five minute exercise breaks every hour; all you have to do is get up and go for a short walk or do a few exercises at your desk. Not only will you be healthier but you’ll be more productive, too.
  2. Drink plenty of water during the day. It’s good for you but importantly it’ll mean more trips to the bathroom which forces you to get up and “exercise”.
  3. Stand or walk instead of sitting especially when on the phone. This is easy to do and you’ll burn at least twice as many calories. Just get into the habit of doing it.
  4. Take the stairs whenever you can especially in offices, hotels, hospitals and airports. I’s often much quicker than waiting for a lift.
  5. Walk or cycle instead of driving whenever and wherever you can. Go for a short walk after dinner. It will aid digestion and help you sleep better. A great way to observe your progress with this additional exercise is to track your daily movements with a pedometer. It will motivate you to have the evidence of your progress before your eyes on a daily basis.


My message is pretty simple. You need to make Baseline Exercise, a high priority in your life, just like your planned exercise. Your actions will help us Get America Moving!

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Best wishes,

P.S. As a special bonus I included “The 5 Essential Stages of Your new Lifestyle Mission” in the report!

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