The Effects Of Sitting On Your Health And What You Can Do About It

Yanina Purcell
Jun 19 · 3 min read

​I have a pretty sedentary job. As a self-employed person, working from home, doing most of my work from behind my computer, I can tend to spend too much time sitting. So I have to make a note of my time on my bum! Too much is not good!

We all know that sitting is not good for you. A lot of information has been around for quite a while regarding the dangers of sitting for too long. But have you actually paid attention to the health risks? And more importantly, do you have a strategy to get more active?

Here are some of the health risks you are experiencing when you sit for long periods of time. An average day for most of us consists of 21 sedentary hours and 3 active hours!

Sitting hurts and can lead to:

  • Tight back muscles and other back concerns
  • Tight hip flexors leading to hip problems
  • Neck strains and cervical vertebrae issues

In addition:

  • If you sit for most of the day your risk for heart attack is the same as if you smoke
  • Electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off as soon as you take a seat
  • Sitting for long periods of time is linked to depressive symptoms
  • Long term risks of prolonged sitting include a higher likelihood of kidney disease
  • 30 minutes at the gym can’t counteract the effects of sitting for 8+ hours
  • Prolonged sitting leads to increased blood pressure and high blood sugar
  • Fat burning enzymes drop by 90% when you sit. There goes your metabolism
  • Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute as soon as you sit
  • A 60+ year old doubles the risk of being disabled with every additional hour spent sitting
  • People with sitting jobs have 2 x the rate of cardiovascular disease as those with standing jobs

Its not all bad news though….

  • Standing for part of the day can lead to better moods
  • Incorporating small movement into your day reduces the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Walking just two flights of stairs daily can help you lose 3 kilograms per year
  • Standing for 3 hours on workdays burns as many calories as running 10 marathons per year
  • Walking burns 3–5 x more calories than sitting
  • Standing a little more each day tones muscles
  • Spending less than three hours a day sitting can add two years to the average life expectancy
  • Small movement and activity throughout the day can lead to better sleep

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Originally published at