Sitting Is the New Smoking

Are you sitting down?  Some of you may be sitting because you just went to the mailbox and got your Baptist Record and you came in and you’re sitting down to read it.  That’s wonderful, except the most recent studies are showing that sitting is the new smoking.  It has taken years to point out the fact that smoking is harmful to your heart, your lungs, your life, and brings about premature death.  Sitting, on the other hand, has now replaced smoking as one of the great detrimental things to our wellbeing.  Our sedentary lifestyle is doing us in.  It is a killer.  I do know that some people cannot stand or walk, but the majority of us who can walk or even run or maneuver, sit more than we should and are not as active as we need to be. 

It is amazing how we sit to travel, to study, to work, to worship; we have even learned how to sit to play golf.  Driving around from one hole to another to another is great exercise, we think.  We, for the most part, are sitting our way to the grave.  One study does not prove everything, but one study ventured to say that sitting is more harmful than smoking.  It does kill more people than HIV and is more treacherous they say than skydiving, but here we go day after day.  We sit in our cars and drive to work only to arrive to get out and go and sit at a desk most of the day only to get off of work and get back in the car and sit while we drive home so that we can get to the couch.

Sitting is a major contributor to cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes.  It is hurting more people than we could ever imagine.  What is a fact is that standing is better than sitting and walking is better than standing and getting started to doing something, anything, is the hardest part of all.  I am not just fussing about us sitting too much and physically being harmed by it, but more interesting to me is that we have done the same thing to our spiritual wellbeing.  We sit and that is not the ultimate in the walk with Jesus.  We sit to listen and learn.  We sit to pray and sing.  We sit at times to visit.

A man was telling me recently how on Saturday afternoon he sits down at his computer and emails all of his Sunday school class and encourages them to be there the next day.  In Hebrews 12:1-2 the writer is saying to folks of his day that they need to get up and get with it.  Now I’m fairly confident the folks in the first century did not lack in the walking department because everywhere they went and everything they did involved walking several miles a day and they didn’t even have one of the little fit bands to show them how many steps they took. 

In Hebrews 12:1, he says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”  Now, you might not be able to run. Maybe you can walk.  You may not be able to just stand, but you can make progress in your walk with Jesus. 

I honestly don’t believe that most folks are lazy, either physically or spiritually, but we get used to finding the shortcut, the easy way, the less taxing, less robust way and eventually we find ourselves not making as much progress, not moving as much, and not as strong and energetic as we used to be in every realm.  So what are we to do? 

One – we need to remember that our muscles, whether we are talking physical or spiritual, mental or emotional, are only made stronger by some degree of exercise.  If you don’t use it, you lose it. 

Two – make a commitment to start getting up if you can, getting out if you can, getting on if you can and letting God use you and strengthen you.

Three – keep your eyes on Jesus.  He is the one who said, “Follow me.”  And if you watch Him and will walk after Him, you will find that you are sitting less and serving more.  May God richly bless you. 

The author can be contacted at

Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer