LifestyleWellness How Sitting Too Much Threatens Your Health


Just one hour of sitting can be as unhealthy as smoking two cigarettes. 

Do you look down and see a waistline that has gotten bigger over the years? Is neck, back, and overall body pain making everything harder to do? Are you constantly low on energy and feeling sluggish all the time? 

It turns out, prolonged sitting is one of the main contributors to all of those symptoms.  

Prolonged sitting and chronic diseases

Most people spend the majority of their lives working, and a great portion of people have to sit for several hours during their work day. According to the CDC, chronic diseases are now at the top of threats to public health–far surpassing infectious diseases in the U.S. 

Guess what?  Sitting is a leading contributor.

It turns out, people are sitting down more now than ever before. So much sitting is happening that the body begins to show adverse health effects in similar ways to cigarette smoking.  

Just one hour of sitting can be as unhealthy as smoking two cigarettes. 

If you stop to think about how quickly the hours in a day pass you by, you might realize you were sitting for a majority of those hours. NOT sitting down for long periods of time has become more of a struggle for people. 

Maybe your 2-hour conference call or meeting ran over an extra 30 minutes. You sat for an hour during your lunch. Perhaps your daily commute to and from work is 2 hours each way. By the time you get home you sit for another 3 hours watching TV or scrolling on your phone.  

That’s already over 8 hours! It’s not even factoring in the number of hours you sit down during your work shift or on weekends. 

What is the body Actually going through when we sit for so long? 

Spending just about 20 minutes in any fixed position could start to inhibit your metabolism. When we sit, we use less energy than when we stand or move. It really is that simple. 

Or at least, it should be if you hit the gym for an hour after work, right? 

Unfortunately, it appears that even an hour of exercise doesn’t counteract someone’s health risks if they consistently sit more than half the hours in a day. 

Sedentary behavior has been linked closely to weight gain, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancer. Sitting for a long period without reducing the number of calories eaten can also lead to even more chronic diseases and conditions.  

So if exercise alone can’t eliminate those health risks, then the lower back pain and tight joints you’re constantly suffering from should be the least of your worries. Avoiding sedentary behavior as much as possible and eating according to your lifestyle has become absolutely necessary for overall health. 

What If Your Job Requires You To Sit All Day? 

If you want to survive your sedentary job, you need to view sitting down to be just as important as a bad diet with no exercise. That may mean you need your company’s help setting your workspace up for your body to succeed. You have more control over your own health than you think. It takes conscious effort and consistency, but here are some places to start:

  • Try a standing desk option 
  • Take a break from sitting at least once or twice every hour 
  • Reduce your calorie intake 
  • Stand while talking on the phone or watching tv 
  • Walk more. Cut your lunch 15 minutes shorter and use that time to get in a power walk 
  • There’s even such a thing as a treadmill desk. Now that’s an expert level to get on! 

Don’t Let Sitting Down Get You Down  

This could seem like a downer when you think about how much you actually sit every day. But it’s also an issue that can have so many positive impacts on your health without you having to do anything too drastic. Just stand up and get walking! 

Even small actions during your day can get your body to burn some calories. Although stretching and walking may not seem like a big deal, these simple acts can also help you burn hundreds of calories every day. 

You may even find that you lose some weight and have more energy. Sounds like you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain–and not any more inches on that waistline.

So do what you can to implement little things that help reduce risks to your health. Even if the movement isn’t highly active, it can really make a difference. Don’t be afraid to find a walking buddy! 

Have you ever thought about how many hours you sit every day? I’d love to hear about how sitting down and gaining weight has impacted you.


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