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Is Sitting the new Smoking?

Sitting woman

Published on 05 April 2019 02:17 PM

Experts warn that inactivity is ‘truly a silent killer, slowly affecting our lifestyle.’

In 2016, the NHS found that adults aged sixty five and over are the UK’s most sedimentary age group, in some cases spending as many as ten hours a day sat down. Professor Stuart Biddle has explained “It could be partly due to reduced functionality, or ill health, but there are also social norms expecting those in later years to ‘slow down’ and rest. That’s not helpful.”

In fact, according to the World Health Organisation physical inactivity is possibly the fourth biggest killer in the world – and has been linked to a myriad of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, brittle bones, and dementia. As such, many experts have suggested that ‘sitting is the new smoking’ – that is, we know that physical inactivity is bad for us, but as with smoking in the 1990s, little is being done to tackle it.

The NHS has a number of suggestions on how older people can combat inactivity:

  • Try to limit your television habits to a few hours per day, or if not, be sure to stand up and get moving during ad breaks.
  • Taking up hobbies such as gardening or DIY, which keep you on your feet. (For information on the ‘garden pottering’ club we run, please contact 0191 2808480)
  • Joining community-based fitness classes (our ‘love later life’ activities leaflet is available here, and our recent article on the ‘falling on your feet’ dance and health programme is available here).
  • Take the stairs when/if you are able.
  • Stand up & walk when taking phonecalls.
  • Regularly engaging in rigorous housework, such as hoovering.  
  • For those times that you are sitting, purchasing a more ergonomic chair can mean that you slouch less, and engage core muscles whilst sat down.

For more information on the programmes we offer to help you keep active, and combat physical inactivity, please contact us on 0191 2808484

Love Later life Activities

Ways to keep fit with Age UK North Tyneside

If you need some support to get you going, our Active Age Service can help you