Sitting is the new smoking.

The simplest guideline for all of us would have to be, “Sit less and move more, ”  according to close to 2,000-member Philippine Heart Association (PHA).  The same advice husband and wife tandem of fitness gurus  Jim and Toni Saret would probably give.

Yes, there’s a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause. As your total sitting time increases, so does your risk of an early death.

Sitting for around eight hours a day at the workplace increases the risk of contracting heart disease, cancer, and diabetes by 40 percent. Actually, it can cause killer legs, too.

Majority of the world population is in the working age-group. This group is always on the computer, glued to their seats for eight hours. They lead sedentary lifestyles while facing different kinds of stress which leads to unhealthy eating and lifestyle. Most of them are unable to engage in appropriate physical activities for their physical and mental well-being. And in worse cases, some do not have the means to cope with stress and maintain mental health.

Push for Sneakers Friday because sitting is the new smoking
Push for Sneakers Friday because sitting is the new smoking

Eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding vices like alcohol and cigarettes are ways of preventing major lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancers as well as other risk factors such as raise blood pressure, raise blood sugar level and obesity. However, awareness and practices of these health benefits are still low among the working population

The Philippine Heart Association (PHA), a non-stock, non-profit organization of 1,780 Filipino cardiologists is committed to foster exceptional cardiovascular education and primary care for everyone. Living up to its mission, the PHA aims to do its share on the awareness on preventive and management of heart diseases. The initiative encourages employees to improve their physical and mental well-being, and effectively address sedentary lifestyles by launching a campaign called “Sneakers Friday.”

“Sneakers Friday” capitalizes on promoting physical activity. It is meant to promote workplace health and wellness where personnel is encouraged to wear sneakers, casual top and pants every Friday as a “dress down day.”

The PHA’s “Sneakers Friday” campaign builds on the perspective that individuals have the ability to adopt healthy lifestyles when supported by a conducive work environment that promotes “healthy eating, healthy habits and physical and mental fitness.”

In order to obtain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to incorporate wellness into all aspects of one’s life, including the workplace. Corporate wellness generates many positive outcomes for their employees as well as the company itself. Even a simple activity such as walking (or brisk walking, with 100 steps per minute) has so many powerful health benefits. When done correctly and regularly, it can be the key to losing weight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and boosting your memory as well as reducing your risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. Walking could be done effortlessly without interrupting corporate work. One can also choose to take the stairs rather than ride the elevator or when one parks the car, choose the farthest end so you’d have more time to walk.

Push for Sneakers Friday because sitting is the new smoking
Push for Sneakers Friday because sitting is the new smoking

The “Sneakers Friday” initial campaign got off the ground spearheaded by medical professionals and cardiovascular experts themselves in November of 2017 with the Makati Medical Center as its launching site, followed by The Medical City where every last weekday was officially declared as “Sneakers Friday.”

Recently, the “Sneakers Friday” campaign is officially launched. The ultimate goal of this campaign is to encourage the corporate sector to integrate more physical activity into their hectic pace.   Also, through the Sneakers Friday, may they become aware that the corporate sector is the paragon of good health.

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