Healthy Living

If you’re someone who has a tendency to confuse being retired with being retiring, this message may be for you.

You likely have heard the expression “sitting is the new smoking” and dismissed it as hyperbole. Unfortunately, there is more than a bit of truth to that discomforting statement. A host of research has indicated too much sitting increases your risk of developing serious health concerns, including stroke, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. It can even negatively impact mood and increase your chance of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer. There’s a pretty stunning litany of negative side effects related to something we engage in daily.

Most residents of Big Canoe are not about to take that discomforting news (ahem) sitting down. As a guideline, Jill Henderzahs-Mason of the Mayo Clinic recommends: “At the bare minimum, you should get up and change positions for at least a minute or two, every 30 minutes.”

She also suggests doing lunges, squats, heel and toe raises and standing balances throughout the day, as you watch TV, for example. 

Also, doing press-ups out of your chair with your hands bracing on the arm rests, can be very beneficial. It’s all about keeping moving and staying strong.

Additionally, consider the benefits of standing vs. sitting. Many everyday activities we would normally do seated can be done standing. Answering emails, reading the news, playing games online, enjoying a book or typing. Personally, I type with the benefit of a lightweight stand that raises my laptop to a comfortable height. Indeed, standing desks have become the rage in offices lately.

Think of potential standing activities as a way to reduce the amount of time spent in that enticing chair. According to James Levine, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting.” Wow. Not for me, you say?

If not, consider joining Healthy Living Walkers as a way to offset some treacherous time sitting. The Healthy Living walks take place three mornings a week at 8:30 a.m. (this new time starts May 3) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and are hosted by my husband Michael and me.

The walks are of increasing difficulty with Monday at McDaniel Meadows being rather relaxed with only a slight elevation change as part of the two loops of just under a mile each. Walkers choose one or two loops. No pressure.

Wednesday, we walk around the outer perimeter of the Wildcat Pool area. It’s a bit more strenuous and about .6 of a mile. We generally do three or four loops, but walkers are free to do as many, or as few, as they like.

The most challenging is Friday’s walk on the Red and/or Blue Trails at Wildcat Park (parking is about 1 mile past the pool on the right).

We start with the 2-mile Red Loop and walkers are free to continue on to the 1-mile Blue Loop or finish their walk and head back to the parking lot.

Consider joining us as we walk to battle the temptations of the chair. It’s a great way to meet and chat with fellow Big Canoers outdoors while you do your body, and future health, a favor.

For more information and to be added to our friendly walkers’ reminder list, contact me at We look forward to seeing you on the trails.


The Healthy Living Committee is a part of the Wellness Collaborative, a 501(c)3 organization.