It may be surprising to hear but, sitting for long periods can increase the risk of developing chronic illnesses like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Some health professionals even worry that prolonged sitting has become the new smoking, and that it is causing significant risks to our general health and well-being.
Since the mid-1900s, sports and exercise scientists have linked our increasingly sedentary lifestyle to many chronic diseases and premature death. For example, one study showed that as daily sitting time and television viewing time increased, the risk of mortality increased for adults who have low or moderate physical activity levels.
Time spent being sedentary has also been shown to be detrimentally associated with key biomarkers shown in both Type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease (CVD) (specifically, it showed an increase in excess adiposity (fats) and disordered lipid and glucose metabolism).
Sitting at Work and Your Health
If you have to sit for long periods at work, staying healthy requires a concerted effort to avoid increasing the risk of chronic illness.
Here are a few ideas you may want to consider but the best advice will come from your qualified health care professional so seek their advice.
- Try a sit-to-stand desk.
Standing all day is not much better for you than sitting all day, but being able to transition between the two postures is ideal. A sit to stand desk can be moved throughout the day, allowing you to change your posture, thereby improving lower leg circulation.
- Set a “Get Up” alarm for every hour.
Getting up from your desk every hour is very important for your health, and can directly combat the detrimental effects of sitting all day. Use your phone to help, and when it goes off, stand up, walk around for one minute and stretch for one minute. You may notice that it also boosts your productivity.
- Compression socks at work.
Compression socks have had a stylish makeover, and now they can be worn in daily life without looking like hospital attire. Consider compression socks or stockings on days when you have long meetings or will be sitting continuously. They can help to boost circulation, directly decreasing the risk of circulatory disease.
Sitting for prolonged periods can be detrimental to your health. If you sit all day at work, it’s worth making the effort to evolve from sitting all day long. It is easy to do and will help your physical and mental health.
Written by Caitlin R.
As a physiotherapist and personal trainer, Caitlin is passionate about health and fitness.
 Eanes L. Too Much Sitting A Newly Recognized Health Risk. 2018-09
 Vallance J K, Gardiner P A, Lynch B M, D’Silve A, Boyle T, Taylor LM, Johnson S T, Buman M P, Owen N. Evaluating the Evidence on Sitting, Smoking, and Health: Is Sitting Really the New Smoking. 2018-10-10
 Bellettiere J, Winkler E A H, Chastin S F M, Kerr J, Owen N, Dustan D W, Healy G N. Associations of sitting accumulation patterns with cardio-metabolic risk biomarkers in Australian adults. 2017-06-29
All articles are provided as general information and are not intended, nor may it be construed, as medical advice or instruction. Information and opinions expressed are believed to be correct and accurate to the best knowledge and judgement of the authors. Readers should consult their appropriately qualified health care professional prior to taking any action or inaction.