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Sitting Your Life Away? Dangers of Excess Sitting

Updated on June 19, 2015

The Dangers of Excess Sitting

The medical results are in: long periods of sitting and being inactive can be hazardous to one’s health. Those who sit for longer than eight hours a day with little or no movement have an increased chance of developing severe depression, obesity, high blood pressure, suffer a stroke, or a heart attack.

Those who are at particular risk are individuals in school, or those who work behind a desk. Studies from “The American Journal of Preventive Medicine” state that women, particularly older women, are at an increased chance of suffering a fatal health issue after years of prolonged sitting on a 12-year follow-up than men in the same study

Individuals are still are at-risk for these hazards even if they exercise after the long stretch of sitting. The only true way of reducing sitting-related health issues is by either significantly reducing the amount of time sitting, or by getting up regularly and walking around; even standing is better to one’s health than sitting. Doctors recommend getting up and moving at least five to seven minutes per hour.

The long periods that an individual sits can wreak havoc on a person’s psychological and physical health. The vast amount of time the average person sits in America could help explain why more than two-thirds of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese. By being more active throughout the day, a person is going to be happier, productive, and in better health.



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    • rebelogilbert profile image

      Gilbert Arevalo 2 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      I write a lot, Ali, but because I have so much energy I get restless as hell. If I read a tip like you just gave or it comes from a doctor I get even more restless. We're not going to get away from our computers. It's a way of life for us, but it's important we get good exercise breaks in.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Being an "older than average" office worker, I am definitely at risk! I find that I have to do something to get up and move around frequently. When my legs started hurting, I realized that I was using them to scoot around on my chair to get to my files. Now, I get up and walk instead. It also helps that we have a large office area, and I can get up and move around when we don't have any clients in the office.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very useful advice and a great reminder of excessive sitting at work. I sit here with some breaks each one-and-a-half hour or so (for bathroom, preparing coffee, taking lunch, etc.) I take 10 minute rest also after lunch. I spend much time browsing and reading and commenting rather than writing my articles. And the days pass very quickly in this manner.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I just love to sit at my computer for hours at home, and really indulge in this now I'm retired, however, I do agree that it's important to get up and move around, as they say, 'use it or lose it!' Thank you so much for the reminder.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      I sit for many hours at my work. I try to get up and move around every hour. If nothing else to stretch. Good advice you presented here.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 2 years ago from East London, South Africa

      As a self confessed "coach potato" I am challenged to get up and exercise on a regular basis. The flesh is weak and it takes real discipline and self-control-easier to talk about than practice.

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 2 years ago from The Great Midwest

      We must start quitting the sitting! This is a good hub on an under appreciated danger I have typically gotten up and walked around at cubicle/office jobs. However, in at least one employment experience that wasn't a practical possibility until breaks.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I worked as a truck driver for a while. There are a whole host of problems that can occur as a result of having to sit still for long periods of time.

      Great read!

    • Ronna Pennington profile image

      Ronna Pennington 2 years ago from Arkansas

      Love it! I recently quit my FT job in part because I got to work at 8. Sat til 3:30 when I went to pick up my kid; went back to work and sat til 5:30; then sat in the car to drive home, then sat at the computer to do more work! I'm free to move around now! Great hub!

    • Alli Rose profile image

      Alli Rose Smith 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Pollyanna, thanks for the comment. I couldn't agree with you more. It really is easy to get stuck in bad habits, and the best thing to do is get up and move!

    • Pollyanna Jones profile image

      Pollyanna Jones 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      It's so easy to get snug at work and spend practically all day sat down. I noticed how bad I felt when I started doing it. I found making little changes helped a lot; for example setting my print-offs to the printer the farthest distance down the office and walking to each print off (not letting them stack up and collect the lot), stand up and walk to talk to a colleague instead of emailing them, and having a walk on my break. I soon found I wasn't so sluggish. I'm fortunate now in that my current job has me on my feet and walking about for about a third of my day. I couldn't be a desk potato again!