Kettering Health | Strive | Spring 2023

Is sitting for extended periods of time really as harmful to your health as smoking? Rukan Ahmed, DO, explains. Q: How does sitting affect our health? A: American adults spend roughly half of their day—or more—sitting. Similar to smoking, uninterrupted periods of sitting are associated with the development or worsening of heart disease, diabetes, and a serious type of blood clot known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Part of the basic philosophy of osteopathic medicine is that the human body has an inherent capacity to recover and heal itself; however, smoking and sitting both undermine the body’s natural ability to recover. Q: Are the health risks of sitting and smoking similar? A: While it is certainly important to identify how multiple aspects of a person’s lifestyle can contribute to worsening health, it is equally important to be wary of drawing parallels between two otherwise unrelated lifestyle habits. Is sitting the new smoking? FACT OR FICTION Rukan Ahmed, DO, is a family medicine physician with Kettering Health There is a notable overlap of the risks associated with both smoking and sitting—but the risk of sitting is far less. Even smoking fewer than five cigarettes per day is associated with a greater risk of all-cause mortality than prolonged sitting. Q: What’s your advice for people who tend to sit all day? A: If you sit at a desk for most of the day, consider taking semi-frequent breaks to stretch your legs, use the restroom, finish a chore, or engage in watercooler conversation. There are also multiple options to stay a bit more active while working, such as using an underthe-desk bike or standing desk. Taking a walk during the lunch hour also does wonders! Outside of work hours, try to engage in hobbies that encourage you to be more active, such as cooking, building something, taking pets for a walk, playing with your children, or just cleaning the house. Like any lifestyle changes, modifying our habits is a gradual process. Positive changes are easier when you have a particular goal in mind, and collaborating with your primary care provider on those goals can help. Try to bring about meaningful changes even just by sitting less. I think our health is something for which we can all stand! 4 TAKE A STEP Visit or call 1-888-796-9704 to find a primary care provider who will work with you on your goals.