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The Health Risks of Sitting

Updated on April 5, 2020
parrster profile image

Among his varied other writing interests, Richard Parr aspires to creating interesting and inspiring stories about life.


That's Right. Sitting 6+ hours per day will raise your chance of dying in the next 15 years by a massive 40%.

And research shows that not even exercise can offset the negative effects of prolonged and regular sitting.

The only solution — Sit less

More dour by the hour...

How many hours a day do you sit?

See results

No Surprise: Sitting makes us fat.

Over the past three decades, exercise rates have stayed about the same, but the time we spend sitting has increased by approximately 10%

Obesity has doubled!

Keep reading to discover some alternatives to sitting.

Length of sit governs size of seat

How overweight are you?

See results

Did you Know sitting can place stress on the neck, shoulders, lumbar region and circulatory vessels?

Stress can lead to pain. Pain increases the production of cortisol in the body. Prolonged higher levels of cortisol in the bloodstream have negative effects;

  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Decreased muscle tissue
  • Decreased bone density
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Lowered immunity

It's time to take a stand when...

You suffer pain in which area most while sitting at your computer

See results

Those who sit three hours or more per day watching TV are 64% more likely to die from heart disease.

Of those who sit in front of the TV three hours per day, those who exercise are just as overweight as those who don't

Every extra hour over the three spent watching TV, equates to an 11% higher death risk.

Television Poll

How many hours do you watch on average per day

See results

Get off your Butt

In the past it was recommended to do thirty minutes of exercise to offset the effect of sitting.

Now we know that's not the secret.

The secret: eliminate, minimise and interrupt sitting as much as possible.

Even standing increases calorie burn ten times that of sitting

Energising Exercise

What form of exercise appeals to you most

See results
Sitting at 135° puts less strain on your back than hunching forward or sitting straight
Sitting at 135° puts less strain on your back than hunching forward or sitting straight | Source

Consider Alternatives to Sitting

The best option, if possible, is to stand rather than sit. Advantages include:

  • Reduced stress on the body
  • Improved circulatory systems
  • Increased muscle mass and tone
  • Improved posture

If unable to stand, other options include:

  • Purchase an ergonomic seat
  • Every hour get active for 15 minutes
  • Alternate sitting and standing

Get Proactive

What method of reducing your sitting time will you use?

See results

Top Ergonomic Chairs


The facts of the matter



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Richard Parr


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    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      7 years ago from Peru, South America

      This definitely gives me food for thought! I started a sit down office job about a year ago. Although I'm still active and fit, it worries me that I have to sit so much. I'll definitely look into a standing work station. Thank you! This is useful and well written.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 

      7 years ago

      I think most of us know this and yet, we still sit and sit and sit...LOL I do make an effort to move around perodically. Your hub is reminding me that I actually show make even more of an effort. I kinda like living.

    • parrster profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Parr 

      7 years ago from Australia

      @Jodah~ Thanks. Yes, I had read a lot too, which is what inspired the hub. There have also been other studies on the risks of standing too long in one place. They are not as bad as sitting too long, but I think a solution that incorporates as much movement as possible is best.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      7 years ago from Gondwana Land

      Good hub. I have read a lot about this recently, and it seems the studies are quite spot on and can't b disputed. I generally sit for an hour or so, then go and do something else. Voted up.

    • parrster profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Parr 

      7 years ago from Australia

      @swiiliams ~ that's my pleasure. thanks for the vote. have a great day.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a very useful article, thanks for the helpful information! Voted up!

    • parrster profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Parr 

      7 years ago from Australia

      @Billybuc ~ That's my pleasure. Of course, standing for too long has its own downsides, but none as dramatic as that of sitting for too long. I find alternating between standing and then sitting only when tired, and plenty of breaks to do a short activity in between works best. Thanks for commenting.

      @Faithreaper ~ Yes, I'm pleased to see that of those taking the poll, most watch very little TV. But, as you say, being a writer sitting at a computer can be even worse than watching the box. Glad to hear I've inspired you to better health habits. God bless.

      @FlourishAnyway ~ In fact many secretaries today are probably more aware of the importance of breaking up sitting stints than the rest of us. Thanks for the share and the comment.

      @NancyOwens ~ Yes, standing isn't always the best or most comfortable. I like the semi-sit-stand stools that are available. Bit expensive but a good investment. I think using a break to get other essentials done is a wise use of time. thanks for commenting.

      @Shyron ~ Yes, cortisol is a killer. I'll have to look up about Cushing Syndrome. Lacks for commenting

      @MsDora ~ Little jigs are a great idea. I have a few yoga poses borrowed from my wife that i regularly do in between writing stints; very helpful.

      @Stuff4kids ~ let the lobbying begin. I like your suggestion of two workstations, one for standing the other for sitting. Appreciate your encouragement, sharing and support.

      @RTalloni ~ Yes, i think if people are going to choose to sit, they definitely need to invest in an ergonomic seat. Thanks for reading and contributing.

      @Kathleen ~ I know the feeling, my legs tend to protest when standing too long. I tend to think alternating between seating and standing is best. Too much of either unhealthy, movement is the goal.

      @Frank ~ Glad you enjoyed, hope it helps.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      7 years ago from Shelton

      what a helpful, hub.. useful advise ...

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      7 years ago from Bridgewater

      How can I sleep if I sit less than three hours a day? Sheesh! I try to stand as much as possible actually, Im just lazy.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've been considering setting up a permanent stand up workstation for sometime, and have actually improvised the idea in the past. Now I know why. :) BTW, I've found sitting on an exercise ball is be really helpful for lower back issues.

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 

      7 years ago

      Fabulous! More people should know about this.

      I do sit when working (writing) but I also have a table-top lectern which one of my sons made for me (he's a professional carpenter) so I can also stand and work.

      So during the day, I alternate between sitting, always maintaining a good posture, and standing at the lectern where I can continue to write and read either by hand or on the laptop.

      I couldn't stand all day at my age but I do find that my most creative output is achieved standing at the lectern rather than sitting at the desk-top. In fact, I realize now that I tend to study at the desk and get creative at the lectern.

      I've voted this up and I'll be sharing it with my followers - as presumably they are all writers, too!

      I recommend that folks who work in offices should lobby their employees with scientific evidence (there's plenty of it) to support some stand-up desk options in the workplace.

      Great hub! x

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      Wow! You really make it sound serious--like it really is. I once had a supervisor who told us to stand up every two hours, even if we only did a little jig and sat down again. I have to remember this. Thank you.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Very good advice, I do know that sitting broadens one, and I don't mean the mind.

      I know that cortisol can cause Cushing Syndrom which my cousin has as I wrote about in "The Nightmare Before the Diagnosis of Cushings Syndrom.

      This should help a lot of people.


    • Nancy Owens profile image

      Nancy Owens 

      7 years ago from USA

      Thank you for sharing this. One thing I do is to take short "work breaks" I get up and do some household chores for 10 minutes or so every hour or so.

      I can do some things standing up, but other things I just can't seem to work right while I am standing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      They used to call it "secretary spread," but given all the time people spend sitting it's not just them. Dour by the hour is right. Voted up and more, sharing, and pinning to my "Health and Medical Interest" board. Well done!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      Yikes, I am in trouble. Thank you for this important hub here for one's health and long life. Of course I sit at the computer all day at work in the legal field and most days are so busy, I forget to get up and walk around, other than performing other tasks. Thankfully, I do not watch much television at all; however, I do come home and write in the evenings some of the days of the week. I am going to get up and get going!

      Up and more and away

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There is nothing more to add to this. Everything you say is right on of course. I started standing at the computer a couple months ago...not for the entire day of writing, but every little bit helps....right? Thanks for the gentle nudge in the right direction.


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