Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation

Posted January 26, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

I was reading a Harvard Business Review article recently, and the words “NO WAY” came out of my mouth as I read this passage from Nilofer Merchant’s article:

As we work, we sit more than we do anything else. We’re averaging 9.3 hours a day, compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping. Sitting is so prevalent and so pervasive that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. And, everyone else is doing it also, so it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not okay. In that way, I’ve come to see that sitting is the smoking of our generation.

In case you didn’t get that, DUDE, WE SIT MORE THAN WE SLEEP! And here’s the kicker. Add those two things together. We’re sitting 9.3 hours a day. We’re sleeping 7.7 hours a day. That means we’re basically inactive at least 17 hours a day! Wow!

What did Merchant do to change his own life because of this statistic? Something truly revolutionary:

So four years ago, I made a simple change when I switched one meeting from a coffee meeting to a walking-meeting. I liked it so much it became a regular addition to my calendar; I now average four such meetings, and 20 to 30 miles each week. Today it’s life-changing, but it happened almost by accident.

I know a woman in Minnesota who is famous for her “walk and talk” meetings, and another who had treadmills installed in her office so staff members can have treadmill meetings. What could happen to your life and your body if you were willing to turn some of that 17 hours into active hours instead of sitting and sleeping ones? Amazing things, I think, amazing things.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."