Did Anthros just say that standing is the new smoking? YES, we did, but we did it with extreme tongue and cheek and you need more context and some deep facts from the global scientific community. You may have asked yourself when you heard this statement… “but I thought sitting was the new smoking, isn’t that what people have been saying for decades?!?!”
Yes, it has been said for decades and this is where we, internally at Anthros, start rolling our eyes and have taken this on to be our Anthronomic duty to help clear up this VERY over-sensationalized and VERY dangerously misused phrase.
To be very clear, the dangerous phrase we are speaking of is: Is sitting the new smoking? And to also be clear, standing is NOT the new smoking. 😊 Nothing is the new smoking! Smoking is smoking! And it is astronomically more dangerous and in many scientific circles should have never been used as a generic comparison to sitting. What they might have said instead is that a sedentary lifestyle with poor nutrition may lead to health consequences similar to that of smoking patients. But that headline isn’t quite as interesting, is it?
If you head to Google and do about 5 minutes or less of detective work you will come to find that scientists, researchers, and medical centers around the world are perturbed that this headline ever came to be. At Anthros we sifted through mountains of documented research and stand behind the scientific community and want to take a step to help clear this up. And at the top of that mountain is the National Institute of Health’s Nov 2018 Publication titled:
Evaluating the Evidence on Sitting, Smoking, and Health: Is Sitting Really the New Smoking?
“Given the current state of the evidence, equating sitting with smoking is unwarranted, misleading for the public, and may serve to distort and trivialize the ongoing and serious risks of smoking. The magnitude of the associations between sitting and health risks and corresponding absolute risk differences are small in comparison with the risks and risk differences associated with smoking. Betteridge’s Law of Headlines states that any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no. Is sitting the new smoking? No.”1
Pretty straight forward and strong words from the NIH, huh?
We thought so too. But there’s more! Standing has been found to have more health risks than sitting including increased low back pain, physical fatigue, muscle pain, leg swelling, tiredness, and over all discomfort.3 The American Journal of Epidemiology found “that occupations that involve predominantly standing were associated with a 2-fold risk of heart disease, compared with predominantly sitting occupations, over a 12-year follow-up period."4 Can you see why we’re saying that standing may not be the answer and could cause more harm than good?
So, what should we do? Sit? Stand? Again, with just a little bit of honest Google research you will find that the answer is you should do both! Just like most decisions you make in life; a balanced approach is usually the best solution. The current evidence coming from the University of Waterloo’s Kinesiology and Health Sciences department suggests that switching between sitting and standing all day will give you a healthy and safe balance of activity and rest. This intermittent approach helps to not fatigue your muscles from standing too long which in turn leads you to poor standing postures and ultimately can lead to back pains. In the same case, sitting too long also leads to muscle fatigue resulting in a poor slouchy posture which will also lead to back pains.
So, what should I do?
Well, if you are going to stand, stand your best and don’t hang on your desk. If you start to slouch or lean on your desk, guess what? Sit down and relax those huge muscle chains used to hold you in that standing posture. When you sit, sit up! Shoulders back, head up, no slouching and just follow a readily available example of proper ergonomic guide to sitting.
If I might, selfishly but lovingly, add one more public service message in this blog, please try sitting in an Anthros chair. It is the only chair developed to properly support your pelvis making sitting upright super easy and its upper back helps you align the rest of your back and sit with proper disc spacing. So, if you can sit upright, mimicking a perfect standing posture, your proper sitting posture just might help you stand better… and maybe even for longer durations than what you can do today!
Now who would have thought that sitting could help your standing!
We did, 😊 and we genuinely hope you give us a risk free try and feel the truth for yourself. We developed this chair to change lives, and we want it to be yours.
- Vallance JK, Gardiner PA, Lynch BM, D'Silva A, Boyle T, Taylor LM, Johnson ST, Buman MP, Owen N. Evaluating the Evidence on Sitting, Smoking, and Health: Is Sitting Really the New Smoking? Am J Public Health. 2018 Nov;108(11):1478-1482. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304649. Epub 2018 Sep 25. PMID: 30252516; PMCID: PMC6187798.
- Mckinnon, Colin, Daniel Martel, and Jack Callaghan. "The impact of a progressive sit-stand rotation exposure duration on low back posture, muscle activation, and pain development." Ergonomics, vol. 64, 2020, pp. 1-10. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2020.1849817.
- Waters, T.R. and Dick, R.B. (2015) “Evidence of health risks associated with prolonged standing at work and Intervention Effectiveness,” Rehabilitation Nursing, 40(3), pp. 148–165. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/rnj.166.
- LeBlanc, A.G. and Chaput, J.P. (2017) “Re: ‘the relationship between occupational standing and sitting and incident heart disease over a 12-year period in Ontario, Canada,’” American Journal of Epidemiology, 187(2), pp. 399–400. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwx356.
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